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Chapter 16: Periodic Motion

Any motion that repeats (think of a position vs. time graph), no matter how complex, is called periodic. This type of motion is important to study since many natural systems are periodic.

When the cause of motion is a linear restoring force, the periodic motion is particularly simple and is called simple harmonic motion. This motion has the remarkable property that the period of oscillation is independent of the amplitude of the motion.

Complicated periodic motion is rather remarkable as well, but for a different reason. Complicated periodic motion can always be described in terms of a sum of sines and/or cosines. This is Fourier's theorem.

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Waves and Oscillations TOC

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