Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Oscillating energies

The graphs below represent a computer simulation of a mass on a spring. The kinetic, potential, and total energies are plotted in the bottom graph, in addition to the position and velocity of the oscillator (upper two graphs). The potential and kinetic energy curves oscillate, but not about zero. They also seem to oscillate twice as fast as the position and velocity curves. Is this correct? Explain.

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Page last modified October 11, 2002: O04