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Homework Help: Can someone check my logic? simple harmonic motion.

  1. Apr 20, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Is the daily movement of a student from home to school and back simple harmonic motion?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I don't think it is. This type of movement is linear. It involves distance, speed and so on. It does not follow a sinusoidal wave pattern, either because though it is periodic, it's not regular. Does that make sense? Can someone else perhaps explain it better?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2008 #2


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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Simple Harmonic motion is defind by the following differential equation:


    The solution to this equation is a sinusoidal function. As you said, the motion of the student is periodic, but not sinusoidal.

    I agree with you. The student's motion corresponds to a square wave (graph his displacement vs. time) This is not simple harmonic motion, but instead falls into the realm of complex harmonic motion.
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