4.8 Simple Harmonic Motion

Pre-reading question:

A mass is hung on a spring and oscillates in simple harmonic motion. Decide from the following scenarios which would increase, decrease or have no effect on the period (T) of oscillation (how long the spring takes to move back and forth):

a)Pull the mass down furtherOscillation

b)Compress the spring (instead of stretching it out)

c)Increase the mass

d)Decrease the mass

e)Travel to Jupiter

f)Travel to the Moon


Textbook reading: On page 418, Figure 13-1 and its caption give a nice visual for force and velocity in Simple Harmonic Motion (also called SHM). On pages 418-419, Figures 13-2 & 13-3 show how a sine curve relates to SHM. Finally, on page 421 Figure 13-4 shows the connection between SHM and circular motion.  (This last one is fairly complicated and conceptual, so don’t be surprised if you find it a little confusing at first.) All three of these concepts are useful, and all four figures are worth taking some time to study.

Post-reading question:

SHM post

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