Forced Oscillations Examples: Detailed Insights

Forced oscillations examples are seen or is performed in our daily life. There are innumerous examples in our real-life where the force is applied for any oscillation to be performed. Here are a few forced oscillations examples which can be seen or is performed near us in our day to day life:

Parents pushing their child on a swing

In a playground or park, it is a normal view that can be seen where there is a swing. Parents or elders come with their children to let them enjoy the ride on a swing. Here, they continuously push the swing at short intervals for the swing to oscillate.

The pushing of the swing seems to be normal, but the science behind it is too complex. If a person pushes the swing once, it will stop after a certain no. of oscillations where the speed decreases simultaneously. This is caused by the interruption of air resistance and other forces applied by nature. While, continuous external force at regular intervals increases the energy lost by damping.

A potter rotating a potter’s wheel

If you have visited a potter, you might be familiar with the big wheel they keep at their home for working with it. They used that wheel known as potter’s wheel to make clay pots using the potter wheel throwing method.

In this method, they need to continuously rotate the wheel at regular short intervals for the formation of clay pots and vessels. This ancient method which is still used today, is a perfect example of forced oscillation is being persistingly used since past.

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Applying force for movement of a pendulum

A pendulum is an object which is freely suspended and allowed to move. This pendulum comes to rest after a certain time completing its oscillation. To continue its to and fro movements, a certain external force is needed to be applied at regular intervals before its maximum displacement reaches to negative.

Forced Oscillation Examples
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Boy pedaling his bicycle

A boy with a bicycle uses his legs to move his bicycle. This external force applied by him for pedaling helps him to rotate the wheel connected to the bicycle, which causes the movement of the bicycle.

An RLC Circuit

An RLC circuit consists of main parts i.e., resistor, inductor and capacitor. Here if the charged capacitor is discharged, the current then flows to the inductor. Thereafter, a magnetic field is created by charged inductor, which collapses the current being sent back to the capacitor.

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What is Forced Oscillation?

The oscillation caused to a body by the impact of any external force is called Forced Oscillation.

Forced oscillation can be defined as an oscillation in a boy or a system occurring due to a periodic force acting on or driving that oscillating body that is external to that oscillating system.

Suppose, in a playground, a boy is sitting on a swing. Another boy stood behind the swing and pushed the swing once, and the swing starts to show a to and fro movement.

In this case, the swing started to oscillate fastly, once pushed by another boy. But later, the speed of swing will start to decrease by the obstruction of air resistance, gravitational force, and other forces acting on it by nature. This decrease in the speed of the swing by the obstructions will eventually lead the swing to stop.

Now, let us take the same situation of a boy sitting on a swing in a playground being pushed by another boy standing behind the swing the first boy was sitting on with a slight change in the action of the second boy.

Let the second boy who is standing behind the swing pushes the swing more than once continually at a regular interval before the maximum negative displacement is reached by the swing.

You will observe that if there is continuous external force is applied every time to the swing, the swing will move continuously despite the obstructions caused by nature until the externally applied force is not stopped by the second boy. This is because the energy lost while the damping is recovered by regular pushes.

You will also observe that if the less external force is applied continually than the previous push, then also, the speed of the swing will decline but upto some extent where the swing will not stop the movement of its oscillation.

While, if the external force which is applied to the swing is much more than the force applied everytime, then it may happen that the boy may be out of synch with the natural frequency of the swing. This can even cause a drastic change affecting both the boy and the swing to collapse.

From above instance we can conclude the following statement about Forced Oscillation:

Forced Oscillation is a type of oscillation where an external force is continuously applied at regular intervals to keep the system or body in oscillation.

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