# 15.2 Energy in simple harmonic motion  (Page 3/8)

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## Oscillations about an equilibrium position

We have just considered the energy of SHM as a function of time. Another interesting view of the simple harmonic oscillator is to consider the energy as a function of position. [link] shows a graph of the energy versus position of a system undergoing SHM.

The potential energy curve in [link] resembles a bowl. When a marble is placed in a bowl, it settles to the equilibrium position at the lowest point of the bowl $\left(x=0\right)$ . This happens because a restoring force    points toward the equilibrium point. This equilibrium point is sometimes referred to as a fixed point . When the marble is disturbed to a different position $\left(x=+A\right)$ , the marble oscillates around the equilibrium position. Looking back at the graph of potential energy, the force can be found by looking at the slope of the potential energy graph $\left(F=-\frac{dU}{dx}\right)$ . Since the force on either side of the fixed point points back toward the equilibrium point, the equilibrium point is called a stable equilibrium point    . The points $x=A$ and $x=\text{−}A$ are called the turning points . (See Potential Energy and Conservation of Energy .)

Stability is an important concept. If an equilibrium point is stable, a slight disturbance of an object that is initially at the stable equilibrium point will cause the object to oscillate around that point. The stable equilibrium point occurs because the force on either side is directed toward it. For an unstable equilibrium point, if the object is disturbed slightly, it does not return to the equilibrium point.

Consider the marble in the bowl example. If the bowl is right-side up, the marble, if disturbed slightly, will oscillate around the stable equilibrium point. If the bowl is turned upside down, the marble can be balanced on the top, at the equilibrium point where the net force is zero. However, if the marble is disturbed slightly, it will not return to the equilibrium point, but will instead roll off the bowl. The reason is that the force on either side of the equilibrium point is directed away from that point. This point is an unstable equilibrium point.

[link] shows three conditions. The first is a stable equilibrium point (a), the second is an unstable equilibrium point (b), and the last is also an unstable equilibrium point (c), because the force on only one side points toward the equilibrium point.

The process of determining whether an equilibrium point is stable or unstable can be formalized. Consider the potential energy curves shown in [link] . The force can be found by analyzing the slope of the graph. The force is $F=-\frac{dU}{dx}.$ In (a), the fixed point is at $x=0.00\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m}\text{.}$ When $x<0.00\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m,}$ the force is positive. When $x>0.00\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m,}$ the force is negative. This is a stable point. In (b), the fixed point is at $x=0.00\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m}\text{.}$ When $x<0.00\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m,}$ the force is negative. When $x>0.00\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m,}$ the force is also negative. This is an unstable point.

who is Newton?
scientist
Jeevan
a scientist
Peter
that discovered law of motion
Peter
ok
John
but who is Isaac newton?
John
a postmodernist would say that he did not discover them, he made them up and they're not actually a reality in itself, but a mere construct by which we decided to observe the word around us
elo
how?
Qhoshe
what is a scalar quantity
scalar: are quantity have numerical value
muslim
is that a better way in defining scalar quantity
Peter
thanks
muslim
upward force and downward force lift
upward force and downward force on lift
hi
Etini
hi
elo
hy
Xander
Hello
Jux_dob
hi
Peter
Helo
Tobi
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what is the question again?
Sallieu
What's this conversation?
Zareen
what is catenation? and give examples
sununu
what's the si unit of impulse
The Newton second (N•s)
Ethan
what is the s. I unit of current
Amphere(A)
imam
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Roland
u r welcome
imam
the velocity of a boat related to water is 3i+4j and that of water related to earth is i-3j. what is the velocity of the boat relative to earth.If unit vector i and j represent 1km/hour east and north respectively
what is head to tail rule?
kinza
what is the guess theorem
viva question and answer on practical youngs modulus by streching
send me vvi que
rupesh
a car can cover a distance of 522km on 36 Liter's of petrol, how far can it travel on 14 liter of petrol.
Isaac
yoo the ans is 193
Joseph
whats a two dimensional force
what are two dimensional force?
Where is Fourier Theorem?
what is Boyle's law
Boyle's law state that the volume of a given mass of gas is inversely proportion to its pressure provided that temperature remains constant
Abe
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Huntergirl
what is the meaning of in.
In means natural logarithm
Elom
is dea graph for cancer caliper experiment using glass block?
Bako
identity of vectors?