# Which waves require medium and which does not?

## Which waves require medium and which does not?

Sound waves cannot travel in the vacuum of space because there is no medium to transmit these mechanical waves. Classical waves transfer energy without transporting matter through the medium.

EM-waves do not require a medium because they are NOT waves in the same sense as water waves or sound waves. Water and sound waves are basically “energy carried by the medium through a displacement in that medium”, or in more simple terms, those waves are nothing else than a (periodic) movement of particles in that medium.

Transverse waves can be electromagnetic or mechanical in nature. Electromagnetic waves like light or radio waves do not need a medium to travel. In contrast, mechanical waves are disturbances that travel through a medium. While mechanical waves can be either longitudinal or transverse, electromagnetic waves are always transverse.

The answer is the option B. Light wave. Electromagnetic waves are the only waves that do not require a medium to travel, this is they can move through empty space.

Transverse waves require a relatively rigid medium in order to transmit their energy. As one particle begins to move it must be able to exert a pull on its nearest neighbor. If the medium is not rigid as is the case with fluids, the particles will slide past each other.

Electromagnetic Waves
Electromagnetic Waves – Do not require a physical medium through which to travel. Electromagnetic waves can travel through a vacuum. Examples: Radio waves, visible light, x-rays, etc. When a mechanical wave moves through a physical medium, the particles in the medium oscillate in simple harmonic motion.

Mechanical waves are waves that require a medium. This means that they have to have some sort of matter to travel through. These waves travel when molecules in the medium collide with each other passing on energy. One example of a mechanical wave is sound.

Waves Traveling the Universe. Compare and contrast two kinds of waves: mechanical (which require a medium of matter to move through), and electromagnetic (which do not require a medium of matter to move through).

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