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# Damped Oscillations

Till now, we have considered systems oscillating freely. There are no agents
who can resist or assist them. But as you might have noticed, in nature there
is hardly any freely oscillating system. For example, when a pendulum
oscillates in air, the viscosity of air resists the oscillation and the pendulum
stops oscillating after a long time. These types of forces which oppose the
oscillation are called dissipating or damping forces.
You might have noticed that when you move your hand in water, the motion
of hand is resisted by the viscosity of water. The noticeable thing is that the
faster you move your hand, the more opposition you feel. Thus, the
magnitudes of damping forces are generally dependent on the velocity of the
body. For simplicity let us assume that the damping force is proportional to
velocity.

Fdamp = v =

dx
dt

## Negative sign is because damping force is opposing the velocity (motion).

Now equation of motion for a damped oscillator is

F = Fres + Fdamp
or

or

or

or

d 2x
dx
=

m
kx
dt 2
dt

d 2x
dx
m
+

+ kx = 0
dt 2
dt
d 2 x dx
k
+
+
x =0
dt 2
m dt
m

d 2x
dx
+
2

+ 02 x = 0
2
dt
dt

.(1)

k
= 02 and
Where
m

= 2

## The auxiliary equation of the differential equation is (putting eMx as solution)

M 2 + 2 M + 02 = 0
2 4 2 402
M=
= 2 02
2

Or

## Depending on the values of 0 and , there are three kinds of damping.

CASE I: Overdamped
In this case > 0.
Thus

2 02 =

is a real number.

## Thus the auxiliary solution for Equation (1) is

x = e t ( Ae t + Be t )

Put as before

So

A = Ce

and

B = Ce

x = Ce t e t + + e

Or
Or

( t + )

x = 2Ce t cosh ( t + )
x = x0 e t cosh ( t + )

So in this case, the oscillation is not possible. The body slowly moves to the
equilibrium position and stops.
CASE II: Underdamped
In this case < 0.
Thus

2 02 = i

is a complex number.

## Thus the auxiliary solution for Equation (1) is

x = e t ( Ae i t + Be i t )
Put as before
So

x = Ce
Or
Or

A = Cei

(e

i ( t + )

and

B = Ce i

+e

i ( t + )

x = 2Ce t cos ( t + )
x = x0 e t cos ( t + )

In this case oscillation prevails, but the amplitude slowly dies down as

x0 e t
and

the

angular

frequency

of

oscillation

is

changed

to

## = 02 2 (earlier in case of free vibration it was 0) This is the

most interesting part studied in laboratories. The total energy of such an
oscillator is

E =
Or

1
2
k ( A m plitude )
2

E =

1
k x 02 e 2 t
2

So the energy of the oscillator dies down with time. This is because the
damping force acting on the body is not a conservative force.
Time taken for the energy to decrease to 1/e of the initial value (t=0) is

t=

1
2

## The angular displacement traveled by the oscillator by that time is referred

to as quality factor

Q = 0 t =

0
2

## CASE III: Critically Damped

In this case = 0.
So M= and
Note that there are still two solutions, but they are equal. So the solution to
Equation (1) is

x = e t ( A + Bt )

In this case, particle will come back to equilibrium position very quickly and
stops. There is thus no oscillation.