# The Concept of Simple Harmonic Motion and Centripetal Force Essay

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Updated: Jan 12th, 2021

## Simple Harmonic Motion

This assignment revolves around the concepts and principles of simple harmonic motion. Perfect examples have been used here, to explain the nature of this motion, and how it applies in real world situations. Simple harmonic motion is a common type of force in the modern world of physics, which is defined by a periodic motion whereby the restoring force is observed to be proportionally aligned to the displacement.

The simple harmonic motion is usually defined by the assumption that; x (t) = a sin (ωt). In this case, ‘a’ refers to the motion amplitude, while ‘ω’ is the circular frequency of this particular motion. The Hook’s law states that; the strain given by any applied force is directly proportional to the force, under the limits of elasticity.

The relationship between simple harmonic motion and the hook’s law can be explained through the use of an experiment whereby a mass is suspended on a spring, where it is set to vibrate. Here, the principles of both the simple harmonic motion and Hooke’s law are clearly manifested. As it would be observed, the spring would supply a force which appears to be proportional to the displacement, thus the simple harmonic motion.

On the other hand, a force must be applied to cause the displacement, right from an equilibrium position which is proportional to the applied pressure. This justifies the principles of the Hooke’s law. This way, Hooke’s law offers a basis for the simple harmonic motion, and the constant of a spring can be applied in measuring the period of a mass vibrating on a spring.

There are numerous types of physical bodies that undergo simple harmonic motion daily. Pendulums and oscillators, as applied in clocks, are perfect examples of real world objects that operate in this kind of force. Swinging pendulums normally exhibit behaviors that are exactly similar to those of a mass hanging on a string. In pendulums, the suspended mass or the bob is observed to be in motion as a result of the applied restoring force. The two main sources of the restoring force in pendulums are the suspending string and the force of gravity.

## Centripetal Force

This assignment revolves around the centripetal force of the earth and the sun. Centripetal force is the type of force which maintains an object constantly within a circular motion. The term centripetal has the meaning of ‘centre seeking’ and in this case, objects aligned to this type of force usually follow a circular or curved path, while in motion. In the case of the earth and the sun, the source of the centripetal force is none other, but the gravitational pull which exists between the two bodies.

The earth revolves around the sun owing to the gravitational force exerted by the sun, and this acts as the force which maintains the planet on its orbit. Two different forces would apply for this kind of motion to take place. One of these forces is centripetal, which forces the object outward, while the other one is gravity, which acts by pulling the object towards the centre.

The earth’s orbit is slightly oval or elliptical in shape. This deviation from circularity is usually caused by the gravitational force exerted by the other bodies in the solar system. More theoretical evidence on this observation also claim that; charge forces exerted by the four outer planets of the solar system are major causes of the deviation from circularity of the earth’s orbit. This implies that, the strength of the centripetal forces which keeps the earth on its orbit is likely to vary greatly in different seasons.

Kepler, who had spent much time observing the orbits of the planets and other space bodies, was the renowned scientist who would ultimately come to discover that the earth’s orbit was not a perfect circle. This discovery contributed to a great scientific revolution on the study of the earth’s composition and the entire solar system. This opened new study avenues on the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit, and the overall impacts that are likely to be realized, following the deviation from circularity of the orbit. This discovery also opened avenues for further experimentations, thus leading to sensible conclusions.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Concept of Simple Harmonic Motion and Centripetal Force'. 12 January.