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Simple Harmonic Motion Rapid Review for AP Physics B & C

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 11, 2011

For a more thorough review, refer to these concepts:

Rapid Review

  • An oscillation is motion that regularly repeats itself over the same path. Oscillating objects are acted on by a restoring force.
  • One repetition of periodic motion is called a cycle. The maximum displacement of an oscillating object during a cycle is the object's amplitude. The time it takes for an object to go through a cycle is the period of oscillation.
  • Period is related to frequency: T = 1/f, and f = 1/T.
  • When solving problems that involve springs or simple pendulums, be on the lookout for ways to apply conservation of energy. Not every simple harmonic motion problem will require you to use conservation of energy, but many will.
  • The position–time graph of an object in simple harmonic motion is a cosine graph. Specifically, the position of the object is found by the equation x = A cos(ωt), where
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