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# INTRODUCTION

## Here, we shall study the applications of linear differential equations to

various physical problems. These linear differential equations are most important in
the study of electro-mechanical vibrations and other engineering problems. These
equations play a dominant role in unifying apparently different theories of
mechanical and electrical systems just by renaming the variables. This similarity
has an important practical application. Since electrical circuits are easier to
assemble, less expensive and accurate measurements can be made of electrical
quantities, we construct equivalent electrical models of complicated mechanical
systems to study their displacements. There are some more applications such as
deflection of beams, whirling of shafts, electrical transmission lines etc.

SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTIONS (S.H.M.)
A particle is said to perform simple harmonic motion (S.H.M.), if it moves in a
straight line such that its acceleration is always directed towards a fixed point in the line
and is proportional to the distance of the particle from the fixed point.
1 11 1
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Applications of Applications of Applications of Applications of
Linear Differential Equations Linear Differential Equations Linear Differential Equations Linear Differential Equations
Introduction
Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)

Prepared by:
Dr. Sunil
NIT Hamirpur (HP)
(Last updated on 06-08-2007)
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
2
This means that, when the acceleration of the particle is proportional to its displacement
from the fixed point and is always directed towards it, then the motion is said to be
simple harmonic.

Let O be the fixed point in the line A A. Let P be the position of the particle at any time
t, where x OP = .
Since the acceleration is always directed towards O, i.e. the acceleration is in the
direction opposite to that in which x increases.
Then, the equation of motion of the particle is x
dt
x d
2
2
2
= .
( ) 0 x D
2 2
= + , where
dt
d
D . (i)
It is a linear differential equation with constant coefficients.
Its auxiliary equation is 0 m
2 2
= + = i m .
The solution of (i) is t sin c t cos c x
2 1
+ = . (ii)
Velocity of particle at t cos c t sin c
dt
dx
P
2 1
+ = = . (iii)
If the particle starts from rest at A, where a OA = ,
then from (ii), ( ) a x , 0 t at = = a c
1
= ,
and from (iii),
|

\
|
= = 0
dt
dx
, 0 t at 0 c
2
= .
t cos a x = . (iv)
This equation gives the displacement of the particle from the fixed point O at any time t.
Also t sin a
dt
dx
=
2
2
2
a
x
1 a t cos 1 a = =
|

\
|
=
a
x
t cos Q (v)

2 2
x a = . (vi)
P
O A
A x
a

2
x
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
3
This equation gives the velocity of the particle at any time t, when displacement from the
fixed point O is x. This equation also shows that the velocity is directed towards O and
decreases as x increases.
Now, equation (iv) and (v) remain unaltered when t is replaced by

+
2
t .
i.e. when t is increased by

2
showing thereby that the particle occupies the same
position and has the same velocity after a time

2
.
The quantity

2
, usually denoted by T, is called the particle time i.e. the time of
complete oscillation.
Nature of motion:
At A, a x = and 0 v = . Since acceleration is directed towards O, the particle moves
towards O. The acceleration gradually decreases and vanishes at O, when the particle has
acquired maximum velocity.
Thus, the particle moves further towards A under retardation and comes to rest at A ,
where OA A O = . It moves back towards O under acceleration and acquires maximum
velocity at O. Thus the particle moves further toward A under retardation and comes to
rest at A. It retraces its path and goes on oscillating between A and A .
Centre of motion:
The point O is called the centre of motion or the mean position.
Amplitude of the motion:
The maximum displacement a which the particle covers on either side of the
mean position is called the amplitude of the motion.
Periodic time:
The time of complete oscillation is

2
, for when t is increased by

2
, the value
of x and
dt
dx
remains unaltered.

Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
4
Frequency of motion:
The number of the complete oscillations per second is called the frequency of
motion.
If n is the frequency, then

= =
2 T
1
n .

Now let us solve some problems related to simple harmonic motion (S.H.M.):

Q.No.1.: A particle is executing simple harmonic motion with amplitude 20 cm and
time 4 seconds. Find the time required by the particle in passing between points
which are at distances 15 cm and 5 cm from the centre of force and are on the
same side of it.
Sol.: Here cm 20 a = , T = 4 seconds
Since

=
2
T
2

= .
Let
1
t and
2
t seconds be the times when the particle is at distances 15 cm and 5 cm
respectively from the centre of force.
Using t cos a x = , we have

1
t
2
cos 20 15

=
4
3
cos
2
t
1
1

= ,
and
2
t
2
cos 20 5

=
4
1
cos
2
t
1
2

= .
Required time 38 . 0
4
3
cos
4
1
cos
2
t t
1 1
1 2
= |

\
|

= =

sec. Ans.
Q.No.2.: A particle moving in a straight line with S.H.M. has velocities
1
v and
2
v
when its distance from the centre are
1
x and
2
x respectively.
Show that the period of motion is
2
2
2
1
2
2
2
1
v v
x x
2

.
Sol.: Since we know
dt
dx
2 2
x a = .
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
5
This equation gives the velocity of the particle at any time t, when displacement from the
fixed point O is x.
This means that, the velocity v of the particle when it is at a distance x from the mean
position is given by ( )
2 2 2 2
x a v = , where a is the amplitude.
( )
2
1
2 2 2
1
x a v = , (i)
and ( )
2
2
2 2 2
2
x a v = . (ii)
Subtracting (i) from (ii), we get
( )
2
2
2
1
2 2
1
2
2
x x v v =
2
1
2
2
2
1
2
2 2
x x
v v

= .
Find: Periodic time (period of motion)
As we know the time of complete oscillation is

2
.
Thus, periodic time
2
2
2
1
2
2
2
1
v v
x x
2
2

= . Ans.
Q.No.3.: At the end of three successive seconds, the distances of a point moving with
S.H.M. from its mean position are
3 2 1
x , x , x , respectively.
Show that the time of a complete oscillation is
|
|

\
| +

2
3 1 1
x 2
x x
cos
2
.
Sol.: Let the moving point be at distances
3 2 1
x , x , x from the mean position at the end
of 2 t 1, t , t + + seconds, respectively.
Using t cos a x = , we have
t cos a x
1
= , (i)
( ) 1 t cos a x
2
+ = , (ii)
( ) 2 t cos a x
3
+ = . (iii)
Adding (i) and (iii), we get
( ) [ ] t cos 2 t cos a x x
3 1
+ + = + .
( ) ( )
2
t 2 t
cos
2
t 2 t
cos 2 . a
+ + +
= .
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
6
( ) = + = cos x 2 cos 1 t cos a 2
2
[Using (ii)]
|
|

\
| +
=

2
3 1 1
x 2
x x
cos .
Find: Periodic time (period of motion)
As we know the time of complete oscillation is

2
.
Hence, the time of a complete oscillation
|
|

\
| +

2
3 1 1
x 2
x x
cos
2 2
. Ans.
Q.No.4.: In the case of a stretched elastic horizontal string which has one end fixed and a
particle of mass m attached to the other, find the equation of motion of the
particle given that l is the natural length of the string and e is its elongation due
to a weight mg.
Also find the displacements of the particle, when initially
0
s s = , 0 v = .
Sol.:

O A T P
1
st
Part: Find the equation of motion of the particle
Let l = OA be the elastic horizontal string with the end O fixed and a particle of mass m
attached at A.
Let P be the position of the particle at any time t, where s OP = , so that the elongation
l = s AP .
Now, for the elongation e, tension = mg
For the elongation ( ) l s , tension
( )
e
s mg l
= .
Since tension is the only horizontal force acting on the particle, its equation of motion is
T
dt
s d
m
2
2
=
( )
e
s mg
dt
s d
m
2
2
l
=
( )
e
s g
dt
s d
2
2
l
= . (i)
From (i), we have
e
g
s
e
g
dt
s d
2
2
l
= +
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
7
e
g
s
e
g
D
2
l
= |

\
|
+ , where
dt
d
D = ,
which is the required equation of motion of the particle.
2
nd
Part: Find the displacements of the particle
Since equation of motion of the particle is
e
g
s
e
g
D
2
l
= |

\
|
+ .
Its auxiliary equation is 0
e
g
m
2
= +
e
g
i m = .
Thus, C.F. t
e
g
sin c t
e
g
cos c
2 1
|
|

\
|
+
|
|

\
|
= .
and P.I. l
l l l
=
+
=
+
=
+
=
t 0 t 0
2 2
e
e
g
0
1
.
e
g
e
e
g
D
1
.
e
g
e
g
.
e
g
D
1
.
Now, since the complete solution is s = C.F. + P.I.
The complete solution of (i) is l +
|

\
|
+
|

\
|
= t
e
g
sin c t
e
g
cos c s
2 / 1
2
2 / 1
1
. (ii)
When t = 0,
0
s s = , so that from (ii) l + + = 0 c s
1 0
l =
0 1
s c .
Also, from (ii) t
e
g
cos
e
g
c t
e
g
sin
e
g
c
dt
ds
2 1
|
|

\
|
+
|
|

\
|
=
When 0 v
dt
ds
, 0 t = = = 0 c
2
= .
From (ii) we get ( ) l l +
|
|

\
|
= t
e
g
cos s s
0
.
Thus, the displacements of the particle are ( ) l l +
|
|

\
|
= t
e
g
cos s s
0
. Ans.
Q.No.5.: A particle of mass m executes S.H.M. in the line joining the points A and B,
on a smooth table and is connected with these points by elastic strings whose
tensions in equilibrium are each T. If l , l be the extensions of the strings
beyond their natural lengths, find the time of an oscillation.

Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
8
Sol.:

In the equilibrium position, let the particle be at C so that l + = a AC and l + = a BC ,
where a , a are natural lengths of the strings.
Then the tensions (at this time) are given by
a a
T

=
l l
. (i)
At any time t, let the particle be at P, so that x CP = .
Then
a
x
T
1
+
=
l
and
a
x
T
2

=
l
.
The equation of the motion is

a
x
a
x
T T
dt
x d
m
1 2
2
2
+

= =
l l
x
T T
x
a a a a
|

\
|
+

= |

\
|
+

\
|

=
l l
l l
[by (i)]
x
dt
x d
2
2
2
= , where
m
T
.
2
l l
l l

+
= .
Find: Periodic time (period of motion)
As we know the time of complete oscillation is

2
.
Hence, the periodic time
( )
)
`

=
T
m
2
2
l l
l l
. Ans.

*** *** *** *** ***
*** *** ***
***
Home Assignments
Q.No.1: A elastic string of natural length 2a and a modulus is stretched between two
points A and B distant 4a apart on a smooth horizontal table. A particle of mass
C A
A
B
B C
T T
T
2
T
1
m
P
m x
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
9
m is attached to the middle of the string. Show that it can vibrate in line AB
with period

2
, where
am
2
2

= .
Sol.:
Q.No.2: Two particle of masses
1
m and
2
m are tied to the ends of an elastic string of
natural length a and modulus . They are placed on smooth table so that the
string is just taut and
2
m is projected with a velocity directly away from
1
m .
Show that the string will become slack after the lapse of time

( )
2 / 1
2 1
2 1
m m
m am
(

+
.
Sol.:
Q.No.3: A particle of mass m moves in a straight line under the action of force OP mn
2
,
which is always directed towards fixed point O in the line. If the resistance to
the motion is mnv 2 , where v is the speed and 1 0 < < , find the
displacement x in terms of the time t given that t = 0, x = 0 and u
dt
dx
= where
OP = x.
Ans.: ( )
(

=

2
2
nt
1 nt sin
1 n
ue
x .
Q.No.4: A particle is executing S.H.M. with amplitude 5 meters and time 4 seconds.
Find the time required by the particle in passing between points which are at
distances 4 and 2 meters from the centre of force and are on the same side of it.
Ans.: 0.33 seconds
Q.No.5: A particle of mass 4 gms vibrates through one centimeter on each side of
the middle point of its making 330 complete vibrations per minute. Assuming
its motion to be S.H.M., show that the maximum force upon the particle is

2
484 dynes.
Sol.:
Q.No.6: A point executing S.H.M. passes through two points A and B, 2 meters apart,
with the same velocity having occupied 4 seconds is passing from A to B.
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
10
After another 4 seconds, it returns to b. Find period and amplitude.
Ans.: 16 seconds, 2 m.
Q.No.7: A particle of mass of 4 gm executing S.H.M has velocities 8 cm/sec and 6
cm/sec respectively when it is at distances 3 cm from the centre of its path.
Find its period and amplitude. Find also the force acting on the particle when it
is a distance 1 cm from the centre.
Ans.: sec., 5 cm, 16 dynes.
Q.No.8: At the end of three successive seconds, the distances of a point moving with
S.H.M. from its mean position, measured in the same direction are 1, 5, 5.
Show that the period of completion oscillation is

2
, where
5
3
cos = .
Sol.:
Q.No.9: A particle is performing S.H.M. of period T about a centre O and it passes
through the position ( ) b OP P = with velocity v in the direction OP. Prove that
the time which elapses before its return to P is
|

\
|

b 2
vT
tan
T
1
.
Ans.:
Q.No.10: A particle moves with S.H.M. in a straight line. In the first second starting
from rest , it travels a distance a and in the next second it travels a distance
b in the same direction. Prove that the amplitude of the motion is
b a 3
a 2
2

.
Sol.:
Q.No.11: An elastic string of natural length 2a and modulus is stretched between two
points A and B distant 4a apart on a smooth horizontal table. A particle of
mass m is attached to the middle of the string. Show that it can vibrate in line
AB with period

2
, where
am
2
2

= .
Sol.:
Q.No.12: An elastic string of natural length l 2 can just support a certain weight when it
is stretched till its whole length is l 3 . One end of the string is now attached to
a point on a smooth horizontal table and the same weight is attached to the
Applications of Linear Differential Equations: Introduction, Simple Harmonic Motions (S.H.M.)
Prepared by: Dr. Sunil, NIT Hamirpur (HP)
11
other end. Prove that if the weight is pulled to any distance and then let go,
the string will become slack again after a time
g 2
l
.
Sol.:

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