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Simple Harmonic Motion Examples in Your Home and Community

Updated on February 3, 2013
She is doing a simple harmonic motion.
She is doing a simple harmonic motion. | Source

First, what is harmonic motion?

Before we take a look at some examples of harmonic motion, let's try to make a clear picture of it in our minds.

Simple harmonic motion is also called a periodic motion. These are movements that occur back and forth.

But not all periodic motion can be considered as simple harmonic motion. The displacement of the object must be directly proportional to the force that restores the object to its original position.

Let's take a look at the following examples of simple harmonic motion so that you will understand it more.

First Example: A Slinky!

When I was 6, this toy became the trend in our school. I was very sad because my parents could not afford to buy a slinky.

You might be thinking, "Isn't that a toy for girls?" Yes it is. But I'm really interested in observing how a slinky works. And besides, my cousins who are boys play with it!

A slinky is a perfect example of simple harmonic motion because it is essentially a spring. It moves in a periodic manner and if you try to throw it harder while holding one of its ends, it will be stretched longer.

These properties of a slinky makes it my number one example of simple harmonic motion.

A Swing is an Example of Simple Harmonic Motion

We've all tried the swing. You can spend most of the time sitting or if you are the older one, you will spend a lot of time swinging your brother or sister.

A swing can be considered a simple harmonic motion if the swinging is constant. You swing forward with the same distance as you swing backward.

If you will push the swing harder, your brother will be swung further. This follows the condition that the force must be directly proportional to the displacement.

Another Example of Simple Harmonic Motion is the Trapeze

I think you know where this list is going...

My second example of simple harmonic motion is the circus trapeze. A trapeze is just like a swing but it is more dangerous and fantastic.

Instead of a seat, a trapeze has a small metal rod where the circus performers hang on or sit on several feet in the air.

I had several chances of watching trapeze performers live but I chose not to. Maybe next time, I can watch this example of simple harmonic motion with my own eyes.

The Next Examples of Simple Harmonic Motion Will be Up To You

Which do you think is the best example of simple harmonic motion that should be included in this list?

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      me 

      5 years ago

      who the hell said slinkies are for girls??

    working

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