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Does the derivation of the SHM formula require calculus?

  1. Dec 22, 2008 #1
    It's not a homework question, but I wanted to attempt to derive it on my own. I was lookin for some clues online, and I believe I saw a website using derivatives.

    Can it be done using pure algebra and trigonometry?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    There are a number of equations that apply to simple harmonic motion. Which one are you thinking of? And what do you want to derive it from?
  4. Jan 17, 2009 #3
    yes,shm is equivalent to the projection of circular motion
  5. Jan 17, 2009 #4
    Yes and no.

    The "real" way, in my mind, does require calculus. I consider it the real way because it comes directly from F=ma. The calculus isn't that tough, though, its a pretty simple differential equation that says that m x == m x''.

    What kof refers to is this:

    http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/8670/demodt0.gif [Broken]

    If you were to follow the path of a mass tracing out uniform circular motion, then the projection of the mass's x position would mimic that of a harmonic oscillator on the end of a spring.

    Describing the position of the mass in terms of theta, then you can see that the harmonic oscillator equation works.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  6. Jan 17, 2009 #5
    yeah,that's what i mean,in circular motion with constant speed,you can prove the x-component of centripetal force is proportional to the displacement along x-axis,with an opposite direction,i derived shm this way before i learned calculus
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