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1

Oscillations
SHM review
Analogy with simple pendulum
SHM using differential equations
Auxiliary Equation
Complex solutions
Forcing a real solution
The damped harmonic oscillator
Equation of motion
Auxiliary equation
Three damping cases
Under damping
General solution
Over damping
General solution
Solution in terms of initial
conditions

Critical Damping
Break down of auxiliary equation
method and how to fix it
General solution
Solution in terms of initial
conditions
Over damping as ideal damping
Phase diagrams
Un-damped phase diagram
Obtaining phase equations directly
The under-damped logarithmic
spiral
Critical damping example
Harmonic oscillations in two
dimensions
Lissajous figures


2
What will we do in this chapter?
This is the first of several lectures on the
the harmonic oscillator. We begin by
reviewing our previous solution for SHM
and use similar techniques to solve for a
simple pendulum. We next solve the SHM
using the auxiliary equation technique
from linear differential equation theory.
This allows us to extend our treatment to
the case of a damped harmonic oscillator
with a damping force proportional to drag.
Three damping cases are considered: under
damped , over damped, and critically
damped. The critically damped case --
besides being very practical -- brings a
new wrinkle to the auxiliary equation
technique.
We discuss the phase diagram which is a
plot of trajectories in a phase space
consisting of p and x. Several methods for
computing these trajectories are discussed
and the under damped, un- damped, and
critically damped examples are drawn.
We conclude with a brief discussion of
harmonic motion in two dimensions and
Lissajou figures.
3
Simple harmonic motion
2 2
( ) ' ;
( '
2
)
'
2
e
k m
U x x T x
F k x x k x =
= =
=
We already are familiar with
this problem applied to the
mass spring problem. We write
the force law and potential and
the solution which we
obtained using energy
conservation.
( )
is the ampli
sin
A

tude
is the angu
Oscillations about eq
lar frequency

is the pha
ui
s
librium
e
/

eq
x x A t
k m
e
e
e

= +
=
cos l |
l
|
mg
x
y
( )
( )
( )
2
2
2
cos
1 / 2
2 2
Mass-spring analogies
m m x'
pend
U mgy mgl
U mgl
mg m
U l mgl T l
l
mg
l k
l
k mg g
m ml l
|
|
| |
|
e e
= =
~
~ =

= =
We also show that the
simple pendulum put in
small oscillation has an
analogous potential and
kinetic energy expression
and hence will have the
same formal solution as the
spring-mass system.
4
SHM solution by DE methods
2
2
2 2 2
0
This is a homogenous, linear DE
We solve it in general by inserting
a solution of t
auxillary equatio
he form: Bexp( )
exp( ) exp( ) 0
This leads to an of
form
n
F k x m x x x
x rt
x x r B rt B
r
rt
e
e e
= = + =
=
= + =
+
+
2
1,
1 2
2
2
which has two roots:
- . We construct the
general solution as the sum of terms
( ) exp( ) ex

(-
0
p ) x t B
r i
i t B i t
e e
e
e e
=
= =
= +
Complex numbers snuck in our solution!
Indeed B
1,2
should be taken as complex
numbers as well. But x(t) must be real?
One way around this problem is to insist
that x is real by demanding x* = x
2 1
1 2
1 2
exp( ) exp(- )
* *exp( ) *exp( )
x* = x if and only if *
x B i t B i t
x B i t B i
B
t
B
e e
e e
= +
= +
=
This really means that rather than
having arbitrary B
1
and B
2
we really
only have one arbitrary number say B
1
.
Fortunately B
1
is complex and thus has
an arbitrary amplitude and phase. We
need two arbitrary real quantities in
order to match the initial position and
phase.
5
DE methods (continued)
( ) ( )
( )
1 1
1
1
( ) exp( ) *exp(- )
Choose exp( ) where and
are real numbers corresponding to the
phase and modulus of B .
( ) exp( ) exp(- )
exp exp
exp
2
i i
x t B i t B i t
B i
x t e i t e i t
i t i t
i t
o o
e e
o o o
o
o e o e
o e o o e o
e o
o

= +
=
= +
= + ( (

+ (

=
( )
( ) ( )
exp
2
2 c c os os x A
i t
x t t
e o
o e e o o
(

= =
If we had chosen B
1
=-i o exp(-io) we
would have obtained an equally valid
solution x = 2o sin(et - o).
As another example we could include a
linear drag force acting on the mass
along with the spring.
( )
2
2
2 2
1,2
2
2 2
or writing
we have
2 0
Auxillary eq by substituting
e
= k/m
xp(
and =b/2
)
exp( ) 2 0
2 0
m
m x k x bx
x x x
x B rt
B rt r r
r
r r
| e
e |
|
|
e
e
e
|
|
=
+ + =
=
=
+ + =
+ + =

6
Damping cases
Solutions will depend quite a bit on
relationship between | and e.
2
2 2
2
1,2
1 1 2 2
2 2
2 2
exp( ) exp( )
There are three
0 under damped
0 critically damped
0 over d
cas
amped
es:
r
x B rt B r t
| e
|
| |
e
e
e
|

=
<
<
=
=
+

The under damped case will have


complex auxiliary roots and will have
oscillatory behavior. The over damped
case will have real roots and thus have
a pure exponential time evolution.
The critically damped case, with a
single root, has some non-intuitive
aspects to its solution.
Under damping
( )
( )
( )
2 2
1 1,2 1
1 1 2 1
1 1 2 1
1 1 1 1
1
Define
exp( ) exp( )
We force a real x via x*=x which
* *exp( ) *exp( )
exp( ) *exp( )
Choose B exp( ) real amp & phase
2
2
t
t
t
t
r i
x e B i t B i t
x e B i t B i t
x e B i t B i t
A
i
A
x e e
|
|
|
|
e e | | e
e e
e e
e e
o

= =
= +
= +
= +
=
=
( ) ( )
( )
( ) ( )
1 1
1 1
cos or sin
i t i t
t t
x t
e
Ae e t
e o e
|
o
|
e o e o


=
+

The under damped oscillator has two
constants (phase and amplitude) to match
initial position and velocity. The solution
dies away while oscillating but with a
frequency other than e = (k/m)
1/2
.
7
An under-damped case
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
x
t
/ 4
0
/ 2 t
o t
o
o
=
=
=
( )
1
cos
t
x Ae t
|
e o

=
1
4 e | =
Here is a plot of x(t) for the under-damped case for three different
choices of phase. We have chosen the damping coefficient | to be 1/4 of
the effective frequency e
1
so you can see a few wiggles before the
oscillation fades out.
8
Over damped case
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
1,2
1 1
1 2
2 2
2 2
2 1,2
2 2
1 1 2
2
2
1 2 2 2
Defining = and =
e
exp( ) exp( )
exp
xp( ) exp( )
exp
r
x B rt B r t
r
x B t
x
B t
B t B t
| e |
| | e
e | e | e
| e
e

| e
+
=
=
= +
= =
= + +

In this case both the B


1
and B
2
coefficients must be real so that x is real. The
two terms are both there to allow us to match the initial position and velocity
boundary conditions. Since e
2
< | both
1
= | + e
2
and
2
= | e
2
are
both positive and thus both terms correspond to exponential decay.
We can re-arrange the blue form to match initial conditions.

0
2 1 1 2 1 2
2 1 2 1
0
exp( ) exp( ) exp( ) exp( )
( ) x x
t
v
t t t
t


| | | |
= +



| |
\ . \ .
The initial condition form is easy to confirm by expanding to 1st order in t.
9
Critical damping
( )
2 2 2 2
1,2
1,2
1 1 2 2
1 2 3
but
Hence and our usual expression
exp( ) exp( ) becomes
exp( ) exp( )
r
r
x B rt B r t
x B B t B t
| | e | e
|
| |
= =
=
= +
= + =
To get a real x, B
3
must be real. But this
cant possibly be right! With only 1 real
coefficient we cant match the initial
position and velocity!
Appendix C of M&T says in the case of
degenerate roots, the full solution is of the
following form which can be confirmed by
direct substitution.

( )
1 2
exp( ) x A A t t | = +
In terms of initial conditions:
( ) ( )
0 0
1 exp( ) x x t v t t | | = + +
It is interesting to note that the critically
damped case actually dies away faster than
the over damped case. Consider the case
where v
0
=0.
The critically damped case will fall off
according to exp(-| t)
The over damped case will have a
exp[-(|+e
2
) t] piece which dies off faster
than the critically damped case. But it will
also contain a exp[-(|e
2
) t] piece which
dies off slower than the critically damped
case.
For many applications: vibration
abatement, shocks, screen door dampers,
one strives for critical damping.
10
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
0
3 | e =
0
| e =
0
1.5 | e =
Example of Critical Damping
We use solutions with x
0
=1 and v
0
=0 and consider the case of critical damping
and two cases of over damping. The critical damped case dies out much faster
and the over damped case dies out more slowly as the over damping ratio
increases.
( ) ( )
2 1 1 2
0
2 1
0 0
exp( ) exp( )
( ) over damp
1 exp( ) critical damp
t t
x t x
x x t v t t


| |
| |

=
|

\ .
= + +
11
Phase Diagram
It is fashionable to view the motion of
mechanical systems as trajectories in a
phase space which is a plot of p (or v)
versus x. Oscillations are a perfect
example of such plots. A first phase
diagram is for an un-damped oscillator.
Since we have a purely position dependent
one dimensional force we know that
energy is conserved.
2
2
2 2
p k
x E
m
+ =
This curve is an
ellipse with an area
monotonic in energy.
Without damping the particle will execute
endless elliptical orbits of fixed energy in
this phase space
x
p
In Newtonian mechanics, we specify the
initial conditions as x(0) and p(0) (or v(0)).
This corresponds to one point in the phase
diagram which specifies the initial energy
or the phase space ellipse. We note that
with this choice of coordinates, we have a
clockwise phase space orbit. This is
because of the negative sign in the
equation of motion:
p kx =
Essentially this means that p must decrease
when x is positive and must increase when
x is negative.
The particular phase space orbit will
depend on the nature of the forces but in
general we know that no two phase space
orbits can intersect. Otherwise several
motions would be possible for the same set
of initial conditions.
12
Phase Diagrams (continued)
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
-1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
x
p
We show the phase diagram for an under
damped oscillation. Again we have a
clockwise motion but this time the energy
continuously decreases with time and
eventually disappears. This sort of curve is
called a logarithmic spiral. We could in
principle obtain this directly from out
solution.
1 1 2 2
exp( ) exp( ) x B t B t = +
The text shows a way of getting the spiral
by a variable transformation.
One can construct the phase diagram directly from x(t) and its derivative or (in the
absence of dissipation) from the conservation of energy. Often the phase diagram
can be obtained through a clever separation of variables:
0 0
2 2
2
2 2 2 2
0 0
2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2
0 0
/
dividing :
/
' ' ' '
2 2
This gives the phase diagram ellipse
x x
v x
dx dx dx dx dt x dx x
m kx x x
dt dt dt dx dt x dx x
x v x x
x dx x dx x dx x dx
x x x v
e e
e
e e e
e e

= = = = =

= = =
+ = +
} }
13
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
Critically damped phase diagram
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( )
( )
0 0
0 0
0 0
2
0 0 0
1 exp( )
1 exp( )
exp( )
exp( )
x x t v t t
x x t v t t
x v t
x v v t x t t
| |
| | |
| |
| | |
= + +
= + + +
+ =
=
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
0 0.5 1 1.5 x
x
Whats wrong with this picture?
It is very straight-forward to draw the
phase diagram once one has x(t) and its
derivative. We plot plot x and v for 50
times for 3 sets of initial conditions.
You can easily visualize the motion
including the maximum displacement
and velocity and retrograde motion
Whoops I messed it up. How did I know?
x
x
(0)
(0)
(0) 1
1 (0
(0) 0
(0) 1 (0) 1
0
0
)
1 ( ) 2
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x =
= =
=
=
=
=

=
14
Harmonic motion in two directions
( )
( )
2 2 2 2
The equations of motion just decouple
0 and y 0 as do the
solutions and initial condition
co
s
s

s
co
x x x
x y y
x x
y y y
F k x x k y y m x x k y y
x
x
y A t
x y
A t e o
e o
e e
=
=
= =
+ = +

=
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
Lissajous figure is a plot of y versus x as t
is varied. To the right is a Lissajous figure
for the case A
x
= A
y
and e
x
= e
y
and o
x
=0
for 4 different o
y
phases. With these
conventions, the figure maximally opens
up into a circle when o
y
=0.
0
10
y
o =
0
170
y
o =
0
90
y
o =
0
45
y
o =
Many cases are easy to see.
If 0 then x=y straight line.
If then x=-y straight line.
y
y
o
o t
=
=
( )
y
2 2 2 2 2 2
If / 2; x=A cos t and y=A sin t
and cos t+sin t
which is a circle
x y A A
o t e e
e e
=
+ = =
Lissajous figures are often a great way to
measure a phase difference on an
oscilloscope.
15
Lissajou figure with unequal frequency
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
0
10
y
o =
0
90
y
o =
0
170
y
o =
2 2
2 2
2 2
Case where 1
0 and 2 2
cos ; cos 2
cos sin
cos (1 cos )
2cos 1 2 1
x y
x y y x
A A
x t y t
y t t
t t
y t x
o o e e e
e e
e e
e e
e
= =
= = = =
= =
= =

= =
16
A cool trig identity
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
2 4 6
3 4
1
cos 2cos 2cos 2cos 2cos ...
1 2 2 1 2 3
n n n n
n n
n n n
n t t t t t e e e e e


| | | |
= + +
`
| |
\ . \ .
)
2 4
1 2 3
Hence if 1 0 and
cos ; cos will be a polynomial in x of the form
...
for 0 - cos
and the curve will flip over.
x y x y y x
n n n
x y
A A n n
x t y n t y
y a x a x a x
y n t
o o e e e
e e
o o t e

= = = = = =
= =
= + + +
= = =
17
Lissajous figures with different frequencies
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
0
10
y
o =
0
90
y
o =
0
170
y
o =
0
45
y
o =
To the right is are
Lissajous figures
for the case A
x
= A
y

and e
y
= 3e
x
and
o
x
=0 for 3 different
o
y
phases. The
figure maximally
opens up when o
y
=90.
18
Lissajous with irrational frequency ratios
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
To the right are a Lissajous
figure for the case A
x
= A
y
, and
o
x
=o
y
=0 with the indicated
frequency ratios
When the frequency ratio is not
a simple fraction (or irrational)
the path does not close and
finally fills up the whole screen.
How would this figure look if
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
-1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5
2.506
y x
e e =
2.515
y x
e e =
2.5
y x
e e =
?