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When a new frequency is applied to an oscillating system the amplitude of oscillation will change.

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  • If the applied frequency is close to the natural frequency, resonance will occur and the amplitude will be at a maximum.
  • If the applied frequency is different from the natural frequency the amplitude will be reduced to almost nothing.
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Resonance curves

  • The amplitude of oscillations can be plotted against applied frequency to give a resonance curve.
  • It is easy to see that the closer the applied frequency is to the natural frequency the larger the amplitude.
  • The effect of damping is also clear, the more damping the smaller the amplitude and the wider the resonance peak.

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