A very quick explanation of resonance

Here you can experiment with resonance.

First, grab the ball, give it a tug, and let go.  It will bounce up and down at its “natural” frequency, also known as its “resonant” frequency.

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In this model you can instead grab the hand/bar at the top with your mouse and move it up and down.  If you move it up and down you can make the ball bounce.  But first try and move it up and down slowly.  Notice the ball moves about as much as you move your hand.

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Now try and move it up and down very quickly.  The ball will again move up and down (but in the opposite direction to your mouse movement) and it will not move very much (if you move the bar quite quickly.)

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But if you move it up and down at just the right rate or “frequency”, the movement of the ball will be amplified!  Like magic, the ball moves much more than your hand/mouse!  You are moving the bar at the spring’s natural frequency when you get it to move the most.

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The interesting thing is that different springs (with different “stiffness” and/or mass) have different natural frequencies.  Try moving the bar in this animation.  You can only get one spring to bounce “in resonance”.

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There is one more key ingredient – dampingDamping resists movement – it sucks energy out of the system; like friction.  In this next animation, pull the ball down and let go.  It has lots of damping.  Notice that it does not bounce for very long.  All the effort that was put in is sucked right out again.  Life is full of damping

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But in this example there is less damping.  Pull on the ball and let go – see, it bounces longer!

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Why don’t you experiment with damping – you can even set it to zero!  (NOTE: You can control the damping by clicking on different positions on the triangular control.)

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Wrapping it up

To get the greatest results you need all three ingredients.  You need to be in resonance – you need to get the frequency just right (you need to be doing the right things).   You need to reduce damping; get rid of everything that takes energy out of the system (get rid of the hindrances that hold you back).  And you need to put effort in; even though resonance amplifies your effort, the more you put in, the more you get out (you have to work hard).  The secrets to success – a life in resonance.

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