Why are Oscillations Important in Physics?

Before we go into the question about the importance of Oscillation in Physics let us briefly discussed some basics of oscillations.

What is an oscillation?

An oscillation is a term used to describe the process of variations that are repeated of any measure or quantity defined about its equilibrium position.Oscillation is a periodic variation that takes place between about its central value or between two given values.

The term mechanical oscillation is used to define the vibration of an object. Oscillations occur in almost every Science field most probably seen in dynamic systems.The process of heart beating also creates oscillations​. Oscillators on the other hand are objects that show motion about an equilibrium point.

Examples of Oscillations

There are many examples of oscillation and the most common ones are

  1. The movement of a Simple pendulum.
  2. The movement of the tides in the sea.
  3. Another example is the movement of spring.
  4. The vibration of the guitar’s strings is also another example of oscillation.
  5. A perfect example of this is a sine wave.

In a simple pendulum, when it is allowed to swing it moves to and fro from one side to another and hence creating an oscillating motion.Vibrations are also known as Mechanical oscillations. When one says that a particle vibrated it means that it has oscillated between two given points with reference to its central point. Similarly, this is the case with the movement of a spring which is also referred to as oscillation. In this movement, the spring moves upward and downward repeatedly thereby producing the oscillating movement.

In a sine wave, the wave oscillates between two points. The maximum height or the maximum distance that the wave oscillates is known as the amplitude. The time period on the other hand is the time taken for completing one cycle of oscillation. The number of cycles occurring in a second is called the frequency and is the reciprocal of the time period.

F = 1 / T

Where F is known as the frequency of oscillation

T, the time period of the oscillation

Define the term Oscillating Motion

Oscillating motion is a simple term that can be defined as a phenomenon when an object swings from one side to another mechanically in a given system. In such types of motion, the Potential Energy (PE) generally changes to Kinetic Energy (KE). An oscillation motion completes one cycle.

Different types of Oscillation

The different types of oscillations are discussed below:

Damped Oscillations

The process where the oscillatory motion is restrained or controlled is known as damping. For example, by dissipating energy to the system, mechanical vibration can occur.However, the oscillation will remain undamped when a force called the restoring force is equal to the induced restraining force thereby oscillating the system with the same energy. Also, when there is no application of the restoring force, the oscillation will suddenly stop. However, in cases where the restoring force is lower or less as compared to the restraining force, then there is an introduction of damping.

These types of oscillations are classified in accordance with the difference in energy that is there between the applied restoring force and the acting restraining force. Such types of oscillations fade away with time. This occurs gradually with the reduction in magnitude with time.

A damped oscillation is not an ideal oscillating system as in the case of an ideal system, there is no reduction between the magnitude of the oscillations does with time and there is no change in the amplitude as well.

Different Types of Damped Oscillations

There are different types of Damped oscillations. These can be classified into three different types:

  • Under damped oscillations: Here the damping constant is<1
  • Critically damped oscillations: In this, the damping constant is = 1
  • Over damped oscillations: in this category the damping constant >1

Undamped Oscillations

In an undamped oscillation, the restoring force is experienced when the oscillation is displaced from its equilibrium point and this is proportional to the displacement. In this type of oscillation, the oscillations’ magnitude remains the same without fading so as the magnitude of the oscillation. Alternating current (AC Wave) is a good example of this type of oscillation.In an AC wave, there is a repetitive oscillation of the magnitude of AC between two different values across the equilibrium value and there is no change in the magnitude nor the time period.

Solve the question: The numbers 2.745 and 2.735 on rounding off to 3 significant figures will give?

Importance of Oscillation in Physics

When an object which is motion is oscillating about an equilibrium position as a result of a restoring force or a torque then it is said that there exists an oscillation. This oscillation is an important motion in Physics as this motion enables many studies in Physics including phenomena like alternating current circuits, electromagnetic waves, and movement of molecules, and so on so forth.

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