What are some of the terms used to define the properties of waves?

The table below summarizes the different properties of waves.

Type of Wave Term Definition
Transverse Crest The highest point of the wave.
  Trough The lowest point of the wave.
Longitudinal Compression An area where the material or medium is condensed and at higher pressure.
  Rarefaction An area that follows a compression where the material or medium is spread out and at lower pressure.
Transverse & Longitudinal Amplitude The distance from the midpoint to the point of
    maximum displacement (crest or compression).
  Frequency The number of vibrations that occur in one second; the inverse of the period.
  Period The time it takes for a wave to complete one full vibration; the inverse of the frequency.
  Wavelength The distance from one point on the wave to the next identical point; the length of the wave.


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