Oscillation and Waves

Course #PH3119

Est.imated Completion Time: 3 months


An introductory course designed to present mechanics to students studying acoustics. Kinematics, dynamics, and work and energy consideration for the free, damped, and driven oscillators. The wave equation for transverse vibration of a string, ideal and realistic boundary conditions, and normal modes. Longitudinal and transverse waves in bars. Transverse waves on rectangular and circular membranes. Vibrations of plates. Laboratory periods include problem sessions and experiments on introduction to experimental techniques and handling of data; the simple harmonic oscillator analog; transverse waves on a string; and transverse, longitudinal, and torsional waves on a bar.

Included in degrees & certificates

  • 124
  • 535


  • PH3991

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, a student will:

  • Understand simple harmonic motion and express solutions as complex phasors;
  • Perform phasor arithmetic and synthesize periodic timeseries using Fourier Series and Transforms;
  • Differentiate between steady-state and transient motion;
  • Relate driving forces to resultant oscillating motion using impedance;
  • Identify and analyze resonant phenomena in oscillating systems;
  • Derive the wave equation and general solution for waves in one- and two- dimensional systems such as strings, bars, membranes, and plates;
  • Calculate reflection and transmission of waves at boundaries;
  • Discuss the power and energy considerations relevant to waves in driven and undriven systems;
  • Describe the state of an oscillating system with Normal modes and the principle of superposition;
  • Recognize parallels between mechanical systems and electrical circuits;
  • Characterize transducers in terms of electroacoustic conversion mechanisms;
  • Operate common laboratory equipment such as oscilloscopes and function generators, and communicate laboratory results effectively;
  • Measure uncertainty in laboratory experiments and propagate uncertainty through calculations for quantitative error analysis;
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Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

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