Simple harmonic motion

In mechanics and physics, simple harmonic motion (sometimes abbreviated SHM) is a special type of periodic motion where the restoring force on the moving object is directly proportional to the magnitude of the object's displacement and acts towards the object's equilibrium position. It results in an oscillation which continues indefinitely, if uninhibited by friction or any other dissipation of energy.

Simple harmonic motion can serve as a mathematical model for a variety of motions, but is typified by the oscillation of a mass on a spring when it is subject to the linear elastic restoring force given by Hooke's law. The motion is sinusoidal in time and demonstrates a single resonant frequency. Other phenomena can be modeled by simple harmonic motion, including the motion of a simple pendulum, although for it to be an accurate model, the net force on the object at the end of the pendulum must be proportional to the displacement (and even so, it is only a good approximation when the angle of the swing is small; see small-angle approximation). Simple harmonic motion can also be used to model molecular vibration as well.

Simple harmonic motion provides a basis for the characterization of more complicated periodic motion through the techniques of Fourier analysis.

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