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Homework Help: Defining what damping means

  1. May 20, 2016 #1

    Radic S

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    Gold Member

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Looking for some feedback on my answer.

    Explain what is meant by damping. Choose a specific technology that requires a damping mechanism and describe how the damping takes place.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Damping is when energy leaves a system that is oscillating, there are three main classes of damping. 1) Under damped is when energy gradually leaves a system i.e the friction of air gradually takes energy out of the oscillating system. 2) Critically damped is when all the energy is gone before the first oscillation occurs, but this damping reaches equilibrium the fastest. i.e pendulum going through honey. 3) Overdamped is when all the energy is gone before the first oscillation occurs but it takes the system the longest to reach equilibrium. I.e pendulum going through wet cement (that doesn’t dry before it it reaches equilibrium).

    A specific technology that requires a damping mechanism is a grand piano, the dampening takes place by the use of a pedal. Pressing any of the keys and holding the keys pressed causes a hammer to transfer energy to a string which vibrates and causes a damper to be lifted off the string which allows the string to oscillate and gradually come to a stop. If you allow the key to be lifted up while the note is being played it will take the energy out of the string and stop the string from oscillating. You can also use the damper pedal to accomplish the same result except this lifts all the dampers on the piano allowing for the sound of note(s) to be drawn out for a longer period of time.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2016 #2
    Radic, excellent explanation! I see no errors.
  4. May 20, 2016 #3

    Radic S

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    Ty! :)
  5. May 21, 2016 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    It sounds like you must live in a very hot climate where honey becomes runny like water. :smile:

    A pendulum of reasonable scale set to operate at 25°C would be heavily overdamped in the honey I buy.
  6. May 21, 2016 #5

    Radic S

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    I tried to find something which has some sort of medium damping, wasn't sure if picking honey was closer to heavy or critical. I was sure that wet cement appears to be heavily overdamped.

    I also propose a scientific experiment which will require a jar of ur honey to test, make sure we don't have conflicting perspectives of it. :D for scientific purposes of course! hehe
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