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Homework Help: Oscillation frequency

  1. Mar 30, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I am struggling to figure out how one would find the oscillation frequency for a nonlinear system thats experiencing a force such as F = 4x^-2 -2x.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Im really not sure how to approach it. Obviously you cant use methods for simple harmonic motion, and it doesnt seem like you would be able to model it as a sin wave because its not symmetric. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2009 #2

    king vitamin

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    Gold Member

    I think you're supposed to approximate the system as simple harmonic close to its stable equilibrium point (otherwise this is an incredibly difficult problem). There's only one equilibrium here, x = 2^(1/3), and at that point, since the force is going from positive to negative, the particle is being pushed back to that point on either side, so it would oscillate about that point. Approximating the system as linear about that point, the force constant would just be k = -F'(2^(1/3)) and your linear force close to equilibrium is F ~ -kx. Now SHM applies and the frequency easily found.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
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