A wave is a repeating pattern of motion that transfers energy from place to place. When waves come in contact with an object, a few things can happen. The wave can be transmitted, which means to pass through the object. It can be absorbed, in which the wave is converted to thermal energy, or it can be reflected (sent off in a new direction).
To better understand wave reflection, absorption & transmittance…
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN!
Waves have properties.
A wave is a repeating pattern of motion that transfers energy from place to place. All waves have properties such as amplitude, wavelength, and frequency. These properties can be used to describe the wave. The amplitude of a wave determines how loud a sound is and how bright light is. Wavelength is the length of one wave. Frequency is how many waves occur in 1 second. The wavelength and frequency of a light wave determine color. A light wave is measured in nanometers. Different wavelengths produce different colors. Higher wavelengths produce brighter colors such as red, and lower wavelengths produce darker colors such as violet.
Sound waves travel through matter.
Sound waves need matter to travel through, but light waves do not. When sound travels through matter, they can be absorbed, reflected, or transmitted depending on the waves’ properties. Higher amplitude sound waves are more likely to be transmitted through matter instead of reflected. Lower amplitude sound waves are more likely to be reflected or absorbed, resulting in a lack of an echo. Sound can travel through air, water, and solids. The type of medium sound is traveling through, along with the properties of the sound wave, will determine if it is absorbed, reflected, or transmitted.