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Homework Help: Manipulating equation

  1. Feb 1, 2008 #1
    Hi, I need help manipulating the equation

    x(t)=e^(-t/tau) sin(omega*t)

    into a straight line graph (y=mx+c) of position (x) against time (t)

    Thanks in advance!

    edit: this might have been better off in the homework/coursework section, sorry
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2008 #2


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    Gold Member

    Do you mean x = m.t + c ?
    Are you allowed to make co-ordinate transformations ? The equation describes a damped oscillator so there doesn't seem to be any other way.
  4. Feb 1, 2008 #3
    Thanks for the reply!
    Probably, I just know I need a straight line out of it.. I think its a little beyond my knowledge, given my college teacher has no idea either. Once I have the equation I'll be set.
  5. Feb 1, 2008 #4


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    Science Advisor

    The question is "make a straight line out of what"? The graph of the function you give, [tex]x(t)=e^{-t/\tau} sin(\omega t)[/tex], in the "tx-plane" is certainly not a straight line and there is no y. The graph of that would be a "wave" getting smaller and smaller as t increases. Sometimes you can make a function into a linear graph by plotting the logarithms of the values rather than the values themselves, but that won't work with that "sin" there.

    Perhaps you mean that, given this x value, as a function of t, find the corresponding y value on the line y= mx+ b. That's easy- just substitute that function for x:
    [itex]y= me^{-t/\tau} sin(\omega t)+ b[/itex]. The values given by those functions will give the position, at time t, of an object moving along the line y= mx+ b.
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