In physics, intensity is the power transferred per unit area, which is transmitted through an imagined surface perpendicular to the propagation direction. In the SI system, it has units watts per square metre (W/m2). It is used most frequently with waves (e.g. sound or light), in which case the average power transfer over one period of the wave is used. Intensity can be applied to other circumstances where energy is transferred. For example, one could calculate the intensity of the kinetic energy carried by drops of water from a garden sprinkler. The word “intensity” as used here is not synonymous with “strength”, “amplitude”, “magnitude”, or “level”, as it sometimes is in colloquial speech. Intensity can be found by taking the energy density (energy per unit volume) at a point in space and multiplying it by the velocity at which the energy is moving. The resulting vector has the units of power divided by area.
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