Physics Topic: Oscillations

Describe simple examples of free oscillations.

Investigate the motion of an oscillator using experimental and graphical methods.

Understand and use the terms amplitude, period, frequency, angular frequency and phase difference and express the period in terms of both frequency and angular frequency.

Recognise and use the equation a = – w^{2}x as the defining equation of simple harmonic motion.

Recall and use x = x_{o }sin wt as a solution to the equation a = – w^{2}x.

Recognise and use v = v_{o}cos wt, v = wsqrt(x_{0}^{2} – x^{2})

Describe, with graphical illustrations, the changes in displacement, velocity and acceleration during simple harmonic motion.

Describe the interchange between kinetic and potential energy during simple harmonic motion.

Describe practical examples of damped oscillations with particular reference to the effects of the degree of damping and the importance of critical damping in cases such as a car suspension system.

Describe practical examples of forced oscillations and resonance.

Describe graphically how the amplitude of a forced oscillation changes with frequency near to the natural frequency of the system, and understand qualitatively the factors which determine the frequency response and sharpness of the resonance.

Show an appreciation that there are some circumstances in which resonance is useful and other circumstances in which resonance should be avoided.