Modeling Oscillating Systems: Physics Component Glossary

 Amplitude: The maximum displacement of a wave crest from its equilibrium position. The SI unit of measure is the meter. Its symbol is A. === Equilibrium: A condition in which all the forces acting on an object are balanced. === Frequency: The number of complete oscillations occurring in a given unit of time The SI unit of measure is oscillations per second. Its symbol is f. === Force Constant: A constant of proportionality for springs which indicates the relative stiffness or elasticity of the spring when it is stretched within its elastic limits. The SI unit of measure is Newtons per meter. Its symbol is k . === Simple Harmonic Motion: SHM refers to the periodic motion of an object acting under the influence of a linear restoring force. The motion is characterized by an oscillation about an equilibrium position such that the acceleration vector of the object is constantly changing, always directed toward its equilibrium position, and directly proportional to its displacement from equilibrium. === Damped Harmonic Motion: DHM is similar to Simple Harmonic Motion except that the restoring force is not linear. This condition is usually brought about by friction within the system. === Hooke’s Law: The restoring force on an object is directly proportional to the displacement of the object from its equilibrium position. === Oscillation: Any periodic vibration equilibrium position. An oscillation is characterized by its frequency, period, and amplitude. === Period: The time required for a complete oscillation or vibration. The SI units are seconds. (period is the reciprocal of the frequency) === Periodic Motion: Any type of motion that successively repeats itself in equal intervals of time. === Restoring Force: A force that causes an object to return to an equilibrium position from which it has been displaced. The SI units are Newtons. === Trigonometric Function: A mathematical function used to model, among other things, periodic phenomena. Examples are sine, cosine, and tangent. === Young’s Modulus: The property of an object characterized by a constant ratio of stress to strain. The SI units are Newtons per square meter. It’s symbol is Y.