Introduction to Harmonic Motion

Simple Harmonic Motion

Damped Harmonic Oscillators

Under damped systems

Over damped systems

Critically damped systems

Equations of motion for a damped pendulum


Damped Harmonic Oscillator

This applet was created to allow users to visualise under, over and critically damped harmonic motion. The picture of the pendulum in the applet is purely a visual aid. The behaviour shown applies to a wide range of systems.

  • On the top of the applet's screen there are controls to change the frequency of oscillation and the damping factor applied.
  • The user can select preset values for the frequency and damping from the drop-down boxes on the left, or enter values in the text boxes on the right. After entering a value please press the RETURN key. The range for the frequency is 0.2-5 Hz, and the range for the damping factor is 0-10.
  • To start the simulation, click the 'start' button, and to stop it, click the 'stop' button. This will pause the simulation, so that when the 'start' button is clicked again the simulation will resume where it left off. Clicking the 'reset' button reinitialises the simulation.
  • To activate the applet, click the title above.

The links on the left provide a summary of the background theory for the damped harmonic oscillator.

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