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# How are mechanical and electromagetic waves different?

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###### 2010-03-27 09:43:38

Here are some differences between mechanical and electromagnetic waves.

• Mechanical waves can be either transverse or longitudinal. Electromagnetic waves are only transverse waves.
• Mechanical waves require a material medium to propagate. Thy can only travel in solids, liquids and gases. Electromagnetic waves do not require any medium. They can travel in vacuum also.
• Electromagnetic waves travel at the speed of light. Mechanical waves travel at much slower speeds.
• Mechanical waves propagate by the vibration of molecules of the medium. Electromagnetic waves travel by the oscillations of the electrical and magnetic vectors of a photon.
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## Related Questions

Only non mechanical waves such as electromagetic waves can travel through empty space.

Mechanical waves require a medium while Electromagnetic waves does not.

mechanical waves need a medium to travel through and electromagnetic waves don't

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###### ScienceElectricity and MagnetismPhysicsWaves Vibrations and OscillationsElectromagnetic Radiation

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