<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

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.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

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.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

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.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

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.)

Got questions? Get instant answers now!


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

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

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"} {}

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

a15kg powerexerted by the foresafter 3second
Firdos Reply
what is displacement
Xolani Reply
movement in a direction
Explain why magnetic damping might not be effective on an object made of several thin conducting layers separated by insulation? can someone please explain this i need it for my final exam
anas Reply
What is thê principle behind movement of thê taps control
Oluwakayode Reply
what is atomic mass
thomas Reply
this is the mass of an atom of an element in ratio with the mass of carbon-atom
show me how to get the accuracies of the values of the resistors for the two circuits i.e for series and parallel sides
Jesuovie Reply
Explain why it is difficult to have an ideal machine in real life situations.
Isaac Reply
tell me
what's the s . i unit for couple?
its s.i unit is Nm
Force×perpendicular distance N×m=Nm
İt iş diffucult to have idêal machine because of FRİCTİON definitely reduce thê efficiency
if the classica theory of specific heat is valid,what would be the thermal energy of one kmol of copper at the debye temperature (for copper is 340k)
Zaharadeen Reply
can i get all formulas of physics
BPH Reply
what affects fluid
Doreen Reply
Dimension for force MLT-2
Promise Reply
what is the dimensions of Force?
Osueke Reply
how do you calculate the 5% uncertainty of 4cm?
melia Reply
4cm/100×5= 0.2cm
how do you calculate the 5% absolute uncertainty of a 200g mass?
melia Reply
= 200g±(5%)10g
use the 10g as the uncertainty?
which topic u discussing about?
topic of question?
the relationship between the applied force and the deflection
sorry wrong question i meant the 5% uncertainty of 4cm?
its 0.2 cm or 2mm
thank you
Hello group...
well hello there
hi guys
the meaning of phrase in physics
Chovwe Reply
is the meaning of phrase in physics

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now

Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics' conversation and receive update notifications?