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published by the University of New South Wales
written by Joe Wolfe
This web page provides a multimedia format for exploring simple harmonic motion.  It includes background material on the basics of SHM, Chladni patterns, phasor addition, Lissajous figures, and more complex waveforms. Short video clips, still images, graphs, and diagrams are integrated with text and lecture presentations to promote understanding of each concept.

This tutorial is part of the PhysClip collection of web-based resources on introductory mechanics, electricity, and magnetism.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Instructional Material Design
= Tutorial
- Technology
= Multimedia
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
= Lissajous Figures
= Simple Harmonic Motion
= Springs and Oscillators
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Tutorial
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- text/html
- application/flash
- image/gif
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© 2006 School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Australia
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia License.
Chladni, SHM, angular velocity, constructive interference, destructive interference, harmonic motion, harmonics, multimedia, sound spectrum, uniform circular motion
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 12, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
November 12, 2012 by Caroline Hall
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AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.
4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M7. Wave behavior can be described in terms of how fast the disturbance spreads, and in terms of the distance between successive peaks of the disturbance (the wavelength).
  • 9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
  • 9-12: 4F/H6c. The energy of waves (like any form of energy) can be changed into other forms of energy.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships
  • 9-12: 9B/H4. Tables, graphs, and symbols are alternative ways of representing data and relationships that can be translated from one to another.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

High School — Functions (9-12)

Interpreting Functions (9-12)
  • F-IF.4 For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship.?
  • F-IF.5 Relate the domain of a function to its graph and, where applicable, to the quantitative relationship it describes.?
Trigonometric Functions (9-12)
  • F-TF.1 Understand radian measure of an angle as the length of the arc on the unit circle subtended by the angle.
  • F-TF.4 (+) Use the unit circle to explain symmetry (odd and even) and periodicity of trigonometric functions.
  • F-TF.5 Choose trigonometric functions to model periodic phenomena with specified amplitude, frequency, and midline.?

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Craft and Structure (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11—12 texts and topics.
  • RST.11-12.5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11—CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
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Record Link
AIP Format
J. Wolfe, (University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2006), WWW Document, (
J. Wolfe, PhysClips: Simple Harmonic Motion (University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2006), <>.
APA Format
Wolfe, J. (2006). PhysClips: Simple Harmonic Motion. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from University of New South Wales:
Chicago Format
Wolfe, Joe. PhysClips: Simple Harmonic Motion. Sydney: University of New South Wales, 2006. (accessed 26 May 2024).
MLA Format
Wolfe, Joe. PhysClips: Simple Harmonic Motion. Sydney: University of New South Wales, 2006. 26 May 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Joe Wolfe", Title = {PhysClips: Simple Harmonic Motion}, Publisher = {University of New South Wales}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {26 May 2024}, Year = {2006} }
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%A Joe Wolfe %T PhysClips:  Simple Harmonic Motion %D 2006 %I University of New South Wales %C Sydney %U %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Wolfe, Joe %D 2006 %T PhysClips:  Simple Harmonic Motion %I University of New South Wales %V 2024 %N 26 May 2024 %9 text/html %U

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PhysClips: Simple Harmonic Motion:

Same topic as Boston University Physics Easy Java Simulation: Uniform Circular Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion

An interactive simulation that explores the connection between uniform circular motion and simple harmonic motion, appropriate for high school physics and lower-level undergraduate courses.

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