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Question: Define Oscillatory motion and the terms associated with oscillation.



The repeated back and forth motion of a body about an equilibrium or mean position is called oscillatory motion.

In oscillatory motion the particle goes back and forth exactly over the same path in exactly the same way.


Following are some terms frequently used in oscillatory motion.

  • Cycle or vibration: One complete round trip of the vibrating object about the mean position is called one cycle or vibration.
  • Time period: Time required to complete one cycle is called time period. It is denoted by T and its unit is second.
  • Frequency: The number of cycles completed in one second is called frequency of oscillation. Its unit is cycles per second denoted by s-1 or hertz denoted by Hz.
  • Displacement: The distance of the oscillator from the mean position at any instant of time is called displacement of the oscillator at that particular time. Its unit is meter (m).
  • Amplitude: It is the maximum displacement of the oscillator from the mean position. Its unit is meter (m).

Relation between time period and frequency

Time period and frequency are reciprocals of each other. Therefore, T = 1/f or f = 1/T.

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