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WikiProject Systems (Rated B-class, High-importance)
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I believe that this article is in need of expansion. Besselfunctions 02:09, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

My problem about the initial definition is the word "periodic" which is not correct for damped and therefore all real-world oscillations. I found similar misleading definitions in the corresponding entries in other languages. Ideas to fix that?

Just because something is modulated that does not stop it being periodic. Cutler 11:50, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
So maybe I am wrong in what I consider to be periodic. For me, something is said to be periodic if it turns back to the same point and restarts again the same things. With this definition I get some problems in defining a damped pendulum to be periodic. Weakening the definition I have much probelms to define what is really meant by periodicity. Hottiger 14:41, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Saw this article the other day. I'm a mechanical engineering student, and willing to help out. Do we have any specific goals for cleanup? 20:34, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

yes could you expand it about sine wave oscillators and their applications in medicine. thanks. matan

I feel this is a common problem we have on wikipedia: if we use too narrow, esoteric or technical a definition, we end up with something which is unusable, or at least incomprehensible by ordinary readers. In engineering the word "oscillation" is used in contexts in which a periodic function is scaled or modulated by another function, so the result is not technically periodic. Examples are "damped oscillation" or "voltage controlled oscillator". In other words the term "oscillation" is mord descriptive than a definition. Cheers. --ChetvornoTALK 18:42, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Self excitation- whats it mean?[edit]

Ok Ive removed some refs to self excitation. But before we all get too excited, can we define what we mean by the term 'self excitation'. Does it mean greater tha unity +ve fb. or what? --Light current 02:40, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

A few major changes[edit]

Here are my justifications.

  • The intro paragraph failed to mention the feature that characterizes oscillations, namely that there is a variation about a central point or between different extremes.
  • The simplest example of an oscillator is a mass with a spring, without gravity. However, gravity merely offsets the equilibrium point of the system, and does not alter any important feature (such as the period). This section thus was misleading in saying that gravity provides the downward force at the top of the oscillation. I have, however, retained a note that the case with gravity resembles the case without.
  • The listed qualities of oscillation are far from universal. Oscillations in, say, ecology or economics don't have momentum or energy analogues. The oscillations also don't have to be about a point of equilibrium; imagine a quadratic potential well with a small "hump" in the middle, and the total energy above that hump. I've removed or integrated most of this list. Even the part about restoring force is arguable, though it's a likelier candidate for universality than the other features.
  • Self-inducing oscillations didn't seem to merit its own subheading. Also broke up a long sentence in that paragraph.
  • Two masses and two springs as a simple example of coupled oscillation? Where are the springs connected? A more common example is two masses and three springs, the extra one between the two masses. Also removed another too-specialized reference to energy.
  • "Neural oscillations" was made an entry in the examples section.
  • A few examples were removed for being too specific, "good vibrations" for being inappropriate, and a few were added to the sparser headings. I don't know of any more examples of chemical oscillations, unfortunately.
  • Removed redundancies from the "See also" section, and moved a few into the "Examples" section.

Anarchic Fox 21:10, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Two masses and two springs ... Where are the springs connected?. I think this is referring to an arrangement like the double pendulum, with one spring from the top fixed point to the mass in the middle, and another spring from the mass in the middle to the bottom mass. Although 3 springs are arguably "more complicated" than 2 springs ("50% more springs"), I'm glad you replaced it with a 3 springs example -- I think that makes a better explanation of coupled oscillators. I added more chemical oscillators. -- (talk) 16:13, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


Okay im doing a project for my science class and i dont know were to find facts about what systems oscillate

Oscillation is not a simple definition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)


the statement: "In real-world systems, the second law of thermodynamics dictates that there is some continual and inevitable conversion of energy into the thermal energy of the environment." is incorrect. the 2nd law of thermodynamics says the entropy change of a prozess is larger OR EQUAL zero. Hence, the 2nd law does NOT dictace "some continual and inevitable conversion of energy into the thermal energy of the environment". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:33, 29 September 2009 (UTC)