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Oscillation and Decay - a pictorial tour through Computer Programs

# Oscillation and Decay - a pictorial tour through Computer Programs

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Simple computer programs to demonstrate the beautiful results obtained from oscillator equations: SHM, Damped Harmonic Oscillation, Relaxation Oscillation...
Simple computer programs to demonstrate the beautiful results obtained from oscillator equations: SHM, Damped Harmonic Oscillation, Relaxation Oscillation...

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05/13/2014

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Oscillation and Decay: a pictorial tour!
-Abhijit Kar Gupta, kg.abhi@gmail.com
Oscillatory motion is so common and so fundamental that any beginner in physics should learnto deal with them with utmost confidence and eagerness.Any textbook on Mechanics or on Sound describes the motion of a particle or a system wherenaturally occurring restoring force and existent damping force in the medium are present. Asthe system is set into motion, the restoring force wants to drive the system towards equilibrium
(Hooke’s law), which is proportional to the displacement. Damping force
, which also actsagainst the motion (basically the friction), is proportional to the velocity. These two forces playan interesting duel, who will control and how to drive the system to equilibrium and how fast.Also, there can be the additional force applied to the system which would rescue the systemfrom decaying!Any text book would write how a simple second order differential equation can be written outof the above and then solve them exactly to achieve exact solutions, faithful to the variousscenario that arise. The mathematical solutions can be plotted in order to visualize and onemay have a fair idea of the various possible extents: when the damping force is comparativelysmall, medium or large and
etc
. and so on.Instead of solving the differential equations mathematically, we here discretize the equationsand use the simple algorithmic steps in computer to obtain results. Thus we will have a nicetool to play with the equations and can easily plot to see whatever and whenever we like tosee!Let consider the following
damped harmonic oscillation
:




(1)

To play with this in computer, we go through the following steps:


Put,




2
In discrete form,

(2)Now for a fixed value of
(damping term) and
(restoring term), if we set the time step

aswe wish, and start from an initial value of velocity,
(say,) and position,
(say,), we can findthe trajectory with time and all that.From (2) we find,

(3)Now,





(4)This is how the position (4) and velocity (3) evolve as the time increases by

.[I write a simple
Fortran
program on this and p
lot the numerical output in ‘
Gnuplot
in Linux.+
In the same way, we can numerically solve any differential equation, adding or manipulatingany suitable term we want. Then we can go for an easy
pictorial tour
while playing with thesimple computer program.
It’s a fun! *Of course, a similar exercise can be done through
software like MATHEMATICA or MATLAB too.]In the following two panels, the
simple harmonic oscillation
is shown, where we take zerodamping
()
. The R.H.S. is a phase plot (velocity vs. position). In the successive panels weproduce the pictures for increasing damping.


SHM (No Damping)

3



Damped Harmonic Motion
[Small damping, under-damped motion,
<
]
Phase plot:
Damped Harmonic Motion
[Larger damping, still under-damped motion,
<
]Phase plot: