Compressional Wave

Definition - What does Compressional Wave mean?

A compressional wave, also known as a mechanical longitudinal wave or compression wave, is a longitudinal wave that produces compression and rarefaction when it travels through a medium. An example of a compressional wave is a sound wave which propagates because of elastic compression of any medium in which this wave is propagating.

Petropedia explains Compressional Wave

There are commonly two types of waves, i.e., compressional waves or longitudinal waves and transverse waves. The displacement of the medium in compressional waves is usually in the opposite or same direction to the direction of propagation of the wave. Compressional waves include sound waves and seismic P waves.

The wavelength and frequency in case of harmonic sound waves are expressed as

Where y = displacement done by travelling sound waves

x = distance the point has traveled from the wave's source

t is the time elapsed

y0 is the oscillation amplitude

c is the wave speed

w is the angular frequency

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