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Damped and Driven Harmonic Motion

Activity Overview

Students explore the properties of waveforms representing damped and driven simple harmonic motion. First, they identify the functional form of the damping in a simple harmonic oscillator. Then, they discover the relationship between the driving frequency, the fundamental frequency, and the damping coefficient for a driven simple harmonic oscillator.

Key Steps

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    Students should open the TNS file and read the first three pages. Page 1.4 shows a graph of displacement vs. time for a damped simple harmonic oscillator. The variable m represents the damping coefficient for the oscillator. Students should vary m and observe the effects on the motion of the oscillator. Then, they should answer questions 1 and 2.