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A similar calculation for the simple pendulum produces a similar result, namely:

ω max = g L θ max . size 12{ω rSub { size 8{"max"} } = sqrt { { {g} over {L} } } θ rSub { size 8{"max"} } } {}

Determine the maximum speed of an oscillating system: a bumpy road

Suppose that a car is 900 kg and has a suspension system that has a force constant k = 6 . 53 × 10 4 N/m size 12{k=6 "." "53" times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } `"N/m"} {} . The car hits a bump and bounces with an amplitude of 0.100 m. What is its maximum vertical velocity if you assume no damping occurs?


We can use the expression for v max size 12{v rSub { size 8{"max"} } } {} given in v max = k m X size 12{v size 8{"max"}= sqrt { { {k} over {m} } } X} {} to determine the maximum vertical velocity. The variables m size 12{m} {} and k size 12{k} {} are given in the problem statement, and the maximum displacement X size 12{X} {} is 0.100 m.


  1. Identify known.
  2. Substitute known values into v max = k m X size 12{v size 8{"max"}= sqrt { { {k} over {m} } } X} {} :
    v max = 6 . 53 × 10 4 N/m 900 kg (0 . 100 m) . size 12{v size 8{"max"}= sqrt { { {6 "." "53" times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } "N/m"} over {"900"" kg"} } } 0 "." "100"" m"} {}
  3. Calculate to find v max = 0.852 m/s . size 12{v rSub { size 8{"max"} } } {}


This answer seems reasonable for a bouncing car. There are other ways to use conservation of energy to find v max size 12{v rSub { size 8{"max"} } } {} . We could use it directly, as was done in the example featured in Hooke’s Law: Stress and Strain Revisited .

The small vertical displacement y size 12{v rSub { size 8{"max"} } } {} of an oscillating simple pendulum, starting from its equilibrium position, is given as

y ( t ) = a sin ωt , size 12{y \( t \) =a"sin"ωt} {}

where a size 12{a} {} is the amplitude, ω size 12{ω} {} is the angular velocity and t size 12{t} {} is the time taken. Substituting ω = T size 12{ω= { {2π} over {T} } } {} , we have

y t = a sin t T . size 12{y left (t right )=a"sin" left ( { {2πt} over {T} } right )} {}

Thus, the displacement of pendulum is a function of time as shown above.

Also the velocity of the pendulum is given by

v ( t ) = 2 T cos t T , size 12{v \( t \) = { {2aπ} over {T} } "cos" left ( { {2πt} over {T} } right )} {}

so the motion of the pendulum is a function of time.

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Why does it hurt more if your hand is snapped with a ruler than with a loose spring, even if the displacement of each system is equal?

The ruler is a stiffer system, which carries greater force for the same amount of displacement. The ruler snaps your hand with greater force, which hurts more.

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You are observing a simple harmonic oscillator. Identify one way you could decrease the maximum velocity of the system.

You could increase the mass of the object that is oscillating.

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Section summary

  • Energy in the simple harmonic oscillator is shared between elastic potential energy and kinetic energy, with the total being constant:
    1 2 mv 2 + 1 2 kx 2 = constant. size 12{ { {1} over {2} } ital "mv" rSup { size 8{2} } + { {1} over {2} } ital "kx" rSup { size 8{2} } =" constant"} {}
  • Maximum velocity depends on three factors: it is directly proportional to amplitude, it is greater for stiffer systems, and it is smaller for objects that have larger masses:
    v max = k m X . size 12{v rSub { size 8{"max"} } = sqrt { { {k} over {m} } } X} {}

Conceptual questions

Explain in terms of energy how dissipative forces such as friction reduce the amplitude of a harmonic oscillator. Also explain how a driving mechanism can compensate. (A pendulum clock is such a system.)

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The length of nylon rope from which a mountain climber is suspended has a force constant of 1 . 40 × 10 4 N/m size 12{1 "." "40" times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } "N/m"} {} .

(a) What is the frequency at which he bounces, given his mass plus and the mass of his equipment are 90.0 kg?

(b) How much would this rope stretch to break the climber’s fall if he free-falls 2.00 m before the rope runs out of slack? Hint: Use conservation of energy.

(c) Repeat both parts of this problem in the situation where twice this length of nylon rope is used.

(a) 1.99 Hz size 12{ "1.99 Hz" } {}

(b) 50.2 cm

(c) 1.41 Hz, 0.710 m

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Engineering Application

Near the top of the Citigroup Center building in New York City, there is an object with mass of 4 . 00 × 10 5 kg size 12{4 "." "00" times "10" rSup { size 8{5} } "kg"} {} on springs that have adjustable force constants. Its function is to dampen wind-driven oscillations of the building by oscillating at the same frequency as the building is being driven—the driving force is transferred to the object, which oscillates instead of the entire building. (a) What effective force constant should the springs have to make the object oscillate with a period of 2.00 s? (b) What energy is stored in the springs for a 2.00-m displacement from equilibrium?

(a) 3 . 95 × 10 6 N/m size 12{3 "." "95" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } "N/m"} {}

(b) 7 . 90 × 10 6 J size 12{7 "." "90" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } "J"} {}

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Questions & Answers

tree physical properties of heat
Bello Reply
tree is a type of organism that grows very tall and have a wood trunk and branches with leaves... how is that related to heat? what did you smoke man?
what are the uses of dimensional analysis
Racheal Reply
Dimensional Analysis. The study of relationships between physical quantities with the help of their dimensions and units of measurements is called dimensional analysis. We use dimensional analysis in order to convert a unit from one form to another.
meaning of OE and making of the subscript nc
ferunmi Reply
can I ask a question
kinetic functional force
Moyagabo Reply
what is a principal wave?
Haider Reply
A wave the movement of particles on rest position transferring energy from one place to another
not wave. i need to know principal wave or waves.
principle wave is a superposition of wave when two or more waves meet at a point , whose amplitude is the algebraic sum of the amplitude of the waves
kindly define principal wave not principle wave (principle of super position) if u can understand my question
what is a model?
Ella Reply
why are electros emitted only when the frequency of the incident radiation is greater than a certain value
b/c u have to know that for emission of electron need specific amount of energy which are gain by electron for emission . if incident rays have that amount of energy electron can be emitted, otherwise no way.
search photoelectric effect on Google
what is ohm's law
Pamilerin Reply
states that electric current in a given metallic conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference applied between its end, provided that the temperature of the conductor and other physical factors such as length and cross-sectional area remains constant. mathematically V=IR
A body travelling at a velocity of 30ms^-1 in a straight line is brought to rest by application of brakes. if it covers a distance of 100m during this period, find the retardation.
Pamilerin Reply
just use v^2-u^2=2as
how often does electrolyte emits?
just use +€^3.7°√π%-4¢•∆¥%
v^2-u^2=2as v=0,u=30,s=100 -30^2=2a*100 -900=200a a=-900/200 a=-4.5m/s^2
what is distribution of trade
Grace Reply
what's acceleration
Joshua Reply
The change in position of an object with respect to time
Acceleration is velocity all over time
It's not It's the change of velocity relative to time
Velocity is the change of position relative to time
acceleration it is the rate of change in velocity with time
acceleration is change in velocity per rate of time
what is ohm's law
Ohm's law is related to resistance by which volatge is the multiplication of current and resistance ( U=RI)
acceleration is the rate of change. of displacement with time.
the rate of change of velocity is called acceleration
how i don understand
Willam Reply
how do I access the Multiple Choice Questions? the button never works and the essay one doesn't either
Savannah Reply
How do you determine the magnitude of force
Peace Reply
mass × acceleration OR Work done ÷ distance
Which eye defect is corrected by a lens having different curvatures in two perpendicular directions?
Valentina Reply
acute astigmatism?

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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