Electromagnetic Spectrum

Edited by Jamie (ScienceAid Editor), Taylor (ScienceAid Editor), vcdanht, Sim

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Electromagnetic Spectrum

Light is just part of a continuum of waves called the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum includes many types of wave that you will recognize including X-rays and infra-red.

The electromagnetic spectrum is normally given in order of decreasing wavelength or increasing frequency. A summary of the spectrum showing the wavelength and frequency is as follows:

the electromagnetic spectrum

Properties, Dangers and Uses

The properties dangers and applications of the varies waves on the em spectrum are in the table below.

Wave Uses Dangers
Radio Waves
  • Radio transmitters
  • Radar
  • Television
None
Microwaves
  • Microwave ovens
  • Communication system
Internal heating of body tissue
Infra-red
  • Thermal imaging
  • Remote controls
Burns skin
Light
  • Optic fibres
  • Seeing!
Strong light causes damage to vision.
Ultra-violet
  • Washing powder (whiter than white)
  • Security marking
Skin cancer and blindness
X rays
  • Taking images of the skeleton
Mutations in cells and severe burns to the skin.
Gamma Rays
  • Cancer treatment
  • Sterilisation of equipment
Cancers and cell mutation

Questions and Answers

Hi Jamie, What why is electromagnetic wave called electromagnetic?

Just a confusion I have with understanding this. light isn't electric or magnetic. Just a curious mind. thinking why it is chosen to be named this way.

Electromagnetic wave means a wave that can propagate because of the periodic variation of the intensities of both the electric and magnetic fields.In other words, it means, when the intensities of the electric and magnetic fields change periodically, the wave can propagate. It doesn't mean that light (an example of electromagnetic wave) should be magnetic or electric.

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Article Info

Categories : Waves

Recent edits by: vcdanht, Taylor (ScienceAid Editor), Jamie (ScienceAid Editor)

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