What is an oscillation?

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Physical movement like that of a pendulum is just one type of oscillation. There can be many other type of oscillations such as variation of voltage and current in alternating currents.

Oscillations in general can be defined as repetitive variation of a quantity from one limit to another. For example, electronic watches use an oscillating crystal to measure time.

In this sense the waves like those generated in water, and air (sound waves) are also type of oscillations. All music instruments produce sounds having different notes by varying the frequency of oscillation of sound producing string, diaphragm, air, or other parts of the musical equipments.

neela | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Oscillation is a type of motion. It is a kind of periodic motion.Contrast with rectilinear motion, the oscilatory motion involves the movement in to and fro directions like a pendulum, vibrating tuning fork or  rocking in a cradle.

An oscillation needs to be understood  in the context of its amplitude, frequency and period of the oscillation.

A simple pendulum  oscillates between two extremes and one complete to and fro motion is called an oscillation. You can take any point in the path of the to and fro movement and observe the direction of the movement.The entire action or movement  of the pendulum  from the point considered to return to the same point and in the same direction is called an oscillation. The pendulum goes to one extreme reverses the movement and goes to another extreme and then reverses the movement and repeats the activity. The single movement (or displacement) of the pendulum from one extreme to another extrme is called the amplitude. Two succesive amplitudes make an oscillation.The time taken for one oscillation (oscillatory movement ) is called a period of oscillation. The number oscillations per second is called the frequency (applies to pendulum, frequency fork or any oscillatory movement). The model of simple pendulum is the most helpful to study oscillations and the study of osillatory movements.

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

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Oscillation, as defined by dictionary.com, is as follows:

1. an act or instance of oscillating.
2. a single swing or movement in one direction of an oscillating body.
3. fluctuation between beliefs, opinions, conditions, etc.
4. an effect expressible as a quantity that repeatedly and regularly fluctuates   above and below some mean value, as the pressure of a sound wave or the voltage of an alternating current.

Hope this helps!

Sources:

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

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The definition of oscillation is the act of oscillating, or a swinging movement that is back and forth, much like a pendulum. Basically this means just about anything that can and will/is moving back in forth (like a pendulum). This can mean anything from the movement of energy to being indecisive and weighing two options in your mind.

laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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It is the movement back and forth at a regular speed/ regular variation in magnitude or position around a central point. In physics, an oscillation occurs when a system is disturbed from a position of equilibrium. Oscillations are said to display periodic motion.

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