Oscillations – Definition and Factors that Affect Periods of Oscillation


Oscillation refers to the repetitive variation of some measure regarding a central value. Oscillations typically occur in time.

The oscillations occur in both mechanical and dynamic systems. Most noteworthy, there are many factors which affect periods of oscillation. Learn more about oscillations and the factors which affect the periods of oscillation.

Period of Oscillation

The equation for the period of a swinging pendulum is T= 2π√(L÷g). Here π (pi) is mathematical constant; L is the length of the pendulum’s arm. Also, g refers to the acceleration of the gravity which acts on the pendulum.

Most noteworthy, the period of oscillation is directly proportional to the arms’ length. Moreover, the period of oscillation is inversely proportional to gravity.


An increase in the pendulum arm’s length causes a subsequent increase in the period. Also, a decrease in length causes a decrease in the period.

When it comes to gravity, the inverse relationship reveals an interesting fact. This fact is that stronger the gravitational acceleration means smaller the period.

Mass on a Spring

Calculation of the period of a spring which is T = 2π√(m÷k). Here, pi is certainly the mathematical constant.

Furthermore, m refers to the mass which is attached to the spring. Moreover, the spring constant is k. Also, the spring constant is related to the spring’s stiffness.

We can say that the period of oscillation is said to be directly proportional to the mass. Also, this period is certainly inversely proportional to the spring constant.

A stiffer spring with a constant mass causes a decrease in the period. In contrast, increasing the mass would result in a subsequent increase in the period of oscillation.


Waves refer to ripples in a lake or the sound waves. These waves have a period equal to the reciprocal of the frequency.

Furthermore, the formula is T= 1÷f. Here, T is the time period of oscillation. Moreover, f refers to the frequency of the wave.

The frequency is almost always measured in hertz. Most noteworthy, when a wave’s frequency decreases, its period also correspondingly decreases.

Electronic Oscillators

The electronic oscillators can generate an oscillating signal with the help of electronic circuitry. Furthermore, there exists a great variety of electronic oscillators.

Due to this, the factors which determine the period depend on the design of the circuit.

There are some oscillators which set the period with a resistor. Moreover, this resistor is connected to a capacitor. Here, the period depends upon the resistor’s value in ohms which is multiplied by capacitance. Also, the measurement of capacitance takes place in farads.

There are other oscillators that make use of a quartz crystal for the determination of the period. This is because quartz is extremely stable. Furthermore, it sets the period of the oscillator with significantly high precision.

Solved Question For You

Q1 Which of the following has no relation with oscillations?

A. Mass on a Spring
B. Wave
C. The Swinging Pendulum
D. The Archimedes Principle

A1 The correct answer is option D. which is the Archimedes Principle. Archimedes Principle has absolutely no relation to oscillations. Furthermore, the other three options certainly have a relation with oscillations.

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