Definition - What does Rayleigh Wave mean?
A Rayleigh Wave is a type of wave that travels along the surface of a solid. These waves are primarily used in non destructive testing (NDT) for detecting defects in the surface of solid objects. Rayleigh waves can be produced by some impact or by piezo-electric transduction. When an earthquake occurs, these waves are produced on the surface of earth. Due to this ability, they are sometimes also referred to as surface acoustic waves.
Petropedia explains Rayleigh Wave
When Rayleigh waves are produced, they travel in both longitudinal and latitudinal directions. The intensity of the waves decreases as they travel farther from the point of their emergence.
Low-frequency Rayleigh waves are helpful in understanding the locations of hydrocarbon reservoirs. They also help geologists, geophysicians and geotechnical engineering people to locate the reservoir locations. These waves are used during the exploration phase of hydrocarbons and in 2D and 3D seismic surveys. The waves also help in understanding the Interior of earth's surface.
Rayleigh waves are also called Rayleigh – lamb waves or simply lamb waves only when such waves are guided in layers.
Diagram of Rayleigh wave propagation,
Source : Wikipedia.com