# Damped harmonic motion

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1 Damped harmonic motion March 3, 016 Harmonic motion is studied in the presence of a damping force proportional to the velocity. The complex method is introduced, and the different cases of under-damping, over-damping and critical damping are analyzed. Contents 1 Introduction and simple analysis The model Numerical solution Guessing a solution Checking the solution Complex method 4 3 Different cases of damping Under-damped Over-damped Critically damped Energy 6 1 Introduction and simple analysis 1.1 The model A physical oscillator (e.g., a mass m tied to a spring with force constant k) after being set into motion would gradually lose energy, and the amplitude of motion would decrease with time. The model of simple harmonic motion (SHM) is obviously inadequate for such a situation. The loss of energy can be modelled by the addition of a damping or viscous force F v that is opposite to the velocity, and has a magnitude proportional to the velocity v = ẋ: F v = b dx dt so that the equation of motion is or where ( d m d x dt = kx b dx dt dt + α d dt + ω 0 α = b m (1) ) x(t) = 0 (), ω 0 = k m (3) The special case α = 0 reduces to SHM. This module studies motion described by (). 1. Numerical solution A numerical solution is shown in the spreadsheet eqm-d1.xls. The sheet gives the motion for α = 0.3, ω0 = 4.0 and initial conditions x(0) = 1.0, v(0) = 0.0. A time step of t = 0.05 is used. It is found that the next maximum occurs at t 3.15 with amplitude All the input parameters can be easily varied. Students should play with the spreadsheet to get a sense of how the solution depends on the system parameters. 1.3 Guessing a solution This Section takes a physical and heuristic approach, and guesses the general solution to (). By the general theorems on ODEs and indeed as shown by the numerical method (see above), there is one and only one solution if two initial conditions are given. If the conjectured solution (a) is checked 1

2 to satisfy () and (b) contains two free parameters, 1 then it must be the correct general solution. With this in mind, we proceed to make a conjecture, based on physical intuition. Recall that without damping, i.e., if α = 0, then the general solution is x(t) = A cos(ω 0 t + φ 0 ) (4) The two arbitrary constants A and φ 0 (or equivalently two linear free parameters B and C related to A cos φ 0 and A sin φ 0 ) are determined by the initial conditions. Now we conjecture that there are two changes. The amplitude A, instead of being constant, now decreases with time in some fashion A A(t) where A(t) decreases to zero at a rate determined by α. The damping force would cause the periodic motion to be slower or the period to be longer. So we guess that in the argument of the cosine ω 0 t Ωt where Ω is smaller than ω 0 by an amount determined by α. Exponential decay For any linear system, the only possible decay is an exponential one. Let us first phrase the argument physically. Imagine A(t) dropping (a) from 1 to 1/, and (b) from 1/ to 1/4. The latter is just the former multiplied by an overall factor of 1/ for a linear system, a multiple of a solution is also a solution. So the time taken for the two processes are identical; let us call it the half-life T. Thus In a time t = T, A(t) decreases by 1/. In a time t = T, A(t) decreases by (1/). In a time t = nt, A(t) decreases by (1/) n = (1/) t/t. 1 To be a bit more careful, we need to check that the two parameters can be converted to two linear parameters. Not to be confused with the period. The half-life will not be mentioned after we introduce τ below. So the functional form must be ( ) t/t 1 A(t) = A (5) where the prefactor A is the initial value. This idea of decaying by geometric ratios and the concept of half-life should be familiar from radioactive decay. Our emphasis is that it simply follows from linearity, or the fact that the overall scale cannot matter. The formula (5) is conventionally written in a different but equivalent way. Start with Thus = e a 1/ = e a (1/) t/t = ( e a) t/t = e at/t A(t) = A e at/t (6) Note that a = ln = Introduce another time scale τ and its inverse γ by τ = T a = 1.44 T γ = 1 τ then (6) can be re-written as A(t) = A e γt = A e t/τ (7) Over one characteristic time τ the amplitude decays by a factor of e; γ is the decay rate. The expression (7) is more convenient when we want to differentiate. A more formal derivation is to note that A(t) must decrease by a definite fraction per unit time linearity means absolute scale does not matter, so only the fraction can enter. Thus da(t) dt = γ A(t) from which (7) follows trivially. Form of solution Thus the conjectured solution is of the form x(t) = A e γt cos(ωt + φ 0 ) (8) There are four parameters.

3 The parameters γ and Ω are determined by the ODE. The parameters A and φ 0 are determined by initial conditions. The behavior of the conjectured solution is shown in Figure 1, for the case where γ is small, i.e., the amplitude decreases only slightly in each period. The dotted lines are the envelope x e (t) = ±A e γt (9) and the solid line is (8). It touches the upper (lower) dotted line when the cosine reaches +1 ( 1). By the way, the time t n when the cosine is + 1 and the time t n when the displacement is maximum are not exactly the same; see Figure. Problem 1 For simplicity let φ 0 = 0. Let T = π/ω. (a) Show that the cosine has the value +1 whenever t = t n = nt. (b) Show that the displacement x(t) attains its local maxima whenever t = t n = nt t, where t is a constant (independent of n). Also determine t. Period At least for weak damping, one still talks about the period T (as above), which is the interval between successive local maxima, even though the motion is not strictly periodic. 1.4 Checking the solution Next check the solution and determine γ and Ω. We can reduce the apparent complexity and gain clarity by a couple of tricks. The overall amplitude A does not matter; it will appear in every term in the ODE () and can be cancelled. So we may as well save some writing and set A = 1 in the derivation. No matter how many times we differentiate, there will be only two types of terms e γt cos(ωt + φ 0 ) = e γt C e γt sin(ωt + φ 0 ) = e γt S In fact the displacement, velocity and acceleration must take the form x(t) = e γt (p 0 C + q 0 S) ẋ(t) = e γt (p 1 C + q 1 S) ẍ(t) = e γt (p C + q S) where for the assumed solution (8) p 0 = 1, q 0 = 0 (10) When these are put into (), the conditions will be ( p + αp 1 + ω 0p 0 ) e γt C + ( q + αq 1 + ω 0q 0 ) e γt S = 0 Since this must hold as an identity in t, the two terms must separately vanish, and we get two conditions on the coefficients: p + αp 1 + ω 0p 0 = 0 q + αq 1 + ω 0q 0 = 0 (11) The above sets out the schema for the derivation, and the actual evaluation is left as an exercise. Problem Starting with (10), calculate p 1, q 1 and p, q. Hence write out (11) explicitly, and show that the solution is γ = α/ Ω = ω0 γ (1) Note that these make sense: (a) the rate of exponential decrease, γ, is proportional to the amount of damping α; and (b) the frequency of motion Ω is reduced from ω 0 by an amount related to the damping. Problem 3 Consider a system with α =, ω 0 = 3, and initial conditions x(0) = 1, v(0) = 0. Find the position x at time t = 0.5 (a) by making use of the analytic solution, and (b) numerically using a spreadsheet, and changing the time step until the result is reasonably accurate. 3

4 Complex method Motivation The complex method is now introduced. There are at least two motivations. The calculation will be actually simpler. Instead of keeping track of two types of terms, there will be only one type. From (1) one would naturally ask what happens when γ > ω 0 would not the square root become imaginary? The main elements of the method have already been outlined in the module on solving ODEs, but a self-contained derivation is nevertheless presented below. Complex solution Start by looking for a complex solution x(t) satisfying ( d dt + α d ) dt + ω 0 x(t) = 0 (13) We conjecture a solution x(t) = Ã eiωt (14) where Ã is a complex constant. The form of (14) ensures that d dt iω so (13) becomes an algebraic equation (iω) + α(iω) + ω 0 = 0 (15) This is a quadratic equation for ω, for which the solution is ω = iγ ± Ω (16) where γ and Ω are given in (1). For the moment suppose the damping is small and Ω is real. Problem 4 Check the solution (16) by solving the quadratic in (15). Take the real part Henceforth take the + sign. (See Problem 5 below.) Then e iωt = e γt e iωt Also represent the complex amplitude as Then Now if we write Ã = A e iφ0 x(t) = A e γt e i(ωt+φ0) (17) x(t) = x(t) + iy(t) then the real part x(t) by itself is a solution to the ODE (as is the imaginary part y(t) by itself). Applying this idea to (17), we find x(t) = A e γt cos(ωt + φ 0 ) recovering the solution as before. Problem 5 Take the minus sign in (16) and show that there is no new solution. 3 Different cases of damping From the last Section we found that x(t) = R x(t) x(t) = Ã eiωt ω = iα/ ± ω 0 α /4 (18) and the analysis in the last Section implicitly assumed that the discriminant = ω 0 α /4 is positive, as would be the case if the damping coefficient α is small. Evidently this is only one of three possible cases, which we now analyze more systematically. 3.1 Under-damped If > 0, then Ω as defined is real, then x(t) = A e iφ0 e γt e iωt = A e γt e i(ωt+φ0) x(t) = A e γt cos(ωt + φ 0 ) (19) as discussed. This is an oscillatory solution, since the cosine alternates in sign an infinite number of times (Figure 1). This case is the most intuitively obvious, since it is closest to the undamped case with α = 0. 4

5 3. Over-damped If < 0, then both roots for ω in (18) are imaginary, and we denote them as iγ 1,, where γ 1 = α + 1 α 4ω0 γ = α 1 α 4ω0 (0) It is easy to see that γ 1 > γ > 0 (The label of 1, is only a matter of convention.) The general solution, with two arbitrary constants, is given by x(t) = A 1 e γ1t + A e γt (1) For t > 0, this may either have only one sign (i.e., never crossing zero) or it may cross zero once. Problem 6 Under what conditions on the parameters γ j and A j would there be a zero-crossing for t > 0? Problem 7 Consider a system with α = 4, ω 0 = 1, and initial condition x(0) = 1, v(0) = 0. Find the position x(t) when t = 0.3. Also check against the numerical solution using a suitably small time step. 3.3 Critically damped Number of solutions Next consider the case in between: what happens if = 0? The quadratic equation (15) has only one root, but we know that (e.g., from the need to match initial conditions) that there must be two independent solutions. So what is wrong? Only one thing is wrong: the assumption that there are two solutions of an exponent form, e.g., e iωt, for some complex ω. There is no general theorem that says this must be the case. There must be another solution that is not of this form. To get at the other solution let us write the basic ODE in this case as ( ) d dt + γ x(t) = 0 () This representation follows the same idea as the characteristic polynomial having two identical factors. Guessing the other solution We can simply guess and check the solutions. Problem 8 Check that the following are two solutions: x(t) = e γt by direct substitution into (). x(t) = t e γt (3) Problem 9 Find the independent solutions to ( ) 3 d dt + γ x(t) = 0 and see whether you can conjecture and even prove a more general statement. The general problem of multiple merged roots in the characteristic polynomial of a dissipative system is of some interest, even recently. 3 General solution The general solution is therefore x(t) = (A + Bt) e γt By taking a limit* *This part is more advanced and can be skipped. A systematic way to understand the second solution is to approaching the critical case as a limit which will establish the link between the three cases, despite the apparent discontinuity in the analytic form. So consider the problem ( ) ( ) d d dt + γ dt + γ + ɛ x(t) = 0 (4) subject to the initial condition x(0) = 1, ẋ(0) = 0, in the limit ɛ 0. (In general, other initial conditions will also reveal the same conclusion.) For ɛ 0, this is not the critical case, and the general solution is x(t) = A e γt + B e (γ+ɛ)t (5) 3 See e.g., A van den Brink and K Young, Jordan blocks and generalized bi-orthogonal bases: realizations in open wave systems, Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General, 34, 607 (001). DOI: / /34/1/308. You may be surprised that even in the 1st century there was something slightly novel to discover in such classical problems. 5

6 Problem 10 Apply the initial conditions and show A = 1 + γ ɛ, B = γ ɛ (6) Then write out (5) in the limit ɛ 0. Hint: Expand e ɛt in powers of ɛ. This approach makes it clear why a power of t appears: It comes from ɛt in the expansion of e ɛt. The factor of ɛ cancels 1/ɛ in the coefficients in (6). Higher powers would give ɛ 1 (ɛt) n with n, and therefore vanish when ɛ 0. 4 Energy General remarks In the presence of a damping force, the total energy would gradually be lost. This Section records how the total energy decreases with time. For simplicity only the under-damped case, in particular the case with γ Ω, will be shown explicitly. Again, to avoid distraction by the mathematics, we state the result first (Figure 3): The total energy E decreases as exp( γt), i.e., like the square of the amplitude. But superimposed on this smooth decrease are small-amplitude oscillations (also decreasing with the same exponent) that vary at the second harmonic Ω. These oscillations have approximately zero average. Displacement and velocity For the under-damped case, the displacement is taken to be Potential energy Kinetic energy U(t) = 1 kx(t) = 1 ka e γt cos Ωt = 1 4 ka e γt (1 + cos Ωt) (7) K(t) = 1 mv(t) = 1 ma e γt ( γ cos Ωt + Ω sin Ωt + γω cos Ωt sin Ωt ) = 1 4 ma e γt [ γ (1 + cos Ωt) + Ω (1 cos Ωt) + γω sin Ωt ] (8) Total energy Consider the total energy E = U + K and its nonoscillating part Ē obtained by dropping the terms that oscillate at the second harmonic. Then Ē = 1 4 [ k + m(γ + Ω ) ] A e γt = 1 ka e γt (9) since γ + Ω = ω 0 and mω 0 = k. Problem 11 The remaining terms are of course oscillatory. But in addition, show that their amplitudes go as γ or γ. Thus, for weak damping, these are also small. Hint: Eliminate Ω from the prefactors and express in terms of ω 0 and γ. x = A e γt cos Ωt An arbitrary initial phase φ 0 can be added to the argument of the cosine without affecting the analysis below. The velcoity is therefore v = A e γt ( γ cos Ωt Ω sin Ωt) in which the first term comes from differentiating the exponential and the second come from differentiating the cosine. 6

7 x A e γt A e γt cos Ωt + φ 0 t Figure 1 3/03/016 mm043 1

8 x t n t n t Figure 3/03/016 mm043

9 E e γt + small oscillations at Ω t Figure 3 3/03/016 mm043 3

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