« · »

Support for Java Applets, including Physlets, has been discontinued by browsers and Oracle. Thus, traditional Java-based Physlets are no longer supported on this website. Please note Open Source Physics (OSP) Java programs continue to run on computers with Java if users download the jar file.

The OSP team is busy updating and developing simulations using HTML5 + JavaScript.
These simulations run on almost all platforms including tablets and cellphones. Explore the Third Edition of Physlets Physics or search OSP for JavaScript to find these simulations.

Exploration 16.3: Simple Harmonic Motion With and Without Damping



show velocity damping coefficient, b = Ns/m

restoring force, Fy(y) = −  *y

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

Enter a value for the damping coefficient, the spring constant of the restoring force, or check the "show velocity" box, then press the "set parameters, then drag the ball" button. When you have done this, drag the ball into position and press "play" to run the animation (position is given in meters and time is given in seconds). Restart. When you get a good-looking graph, right-click on it to clone the graph and resize it for a better view.

  1. Find the mass of the ball by using your knowledge of simple harmonic motion.
  2. Enable the velocity graph. Does the velocity lead or lag the position graph during simple harmonic motion?
  3. How do the frequencies compare if the restoring force is -2*y, -4*y, and -8*y N/m? You may right-click on the graph to create a copy at any time.

Now focus on the damping coefficient and how it affects the motion.

  1. Set the restoring force to -2*y and the initial displacement from equilibrium to 5 m. Vary b from 0 to 2 N·s/m in steps of 0.25 N·s/m. What can you say about the frequency of motion as a function of b?

Download PDF Worksheet

The OSP Network:
Open Source Physics - Tracker - EJS Modeling
Physlet Physics
Physlet Quantum Physics