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Homework Help: Driven Oscillators: interesting cases?

  1. Mar 23, 2008 #1
    Hi there

    I need some advice, please: can you suggest any interesting cases of a driven, damped harmonic oscillator? I need to write a report (part of some assignment) on the mathematical model/behaviour/etc. of some real-world driven oscillator.

    No problems with the math, I'm just looking for an interesting model. By interesting I mean: not a driven mass-spring system! Also, I don't want to get into anything quantum-mechanical - it's not a physics assignment, and there's not really scope in the assignment to venture beyond a straightforward classical model.

    An example might be some sort of car shock absorber, the "driven" part being on account of a bumpy road...presumably resonant oscillations would be undesirable! But any better suggestions?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2008 #2
    "driven, damped harmonic oscillator" -- wouldn't that be just about any example of resonance that has an energy source?

    Pushing a kid on a swing in the playground ... a piezoelectric crystal in an oscillator circuit ... the voice of Ella Fitzgerald breaks a glass in the TV commercial for Memorex recording tape ... every time a big truck goes by my house the beer mugs that I keep on top of my refrigerator go jingle-jingle ...

    When you say "driven" I guess we can leave out the case of a tuning fork (or guitar string, etc.) that makes another one begin vibrating "in sympathy" -- I think in such cases that both oscillations are in exponential decay, so that's not a driven oscillation.
  4. Mar 23, 2008 #3
    Aha, thank you for your suggestions, I like the "Ella Fitzgerald" and piezoelectric crystal example. The former seems particularly fun, and a striking example of resonance...although I suppose it would be easier to study the effects of damping/different natural angular frequencies/etc. in the case of the piezoelectric crystal circuit, perhaps using mechanical analogues?
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