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All stable systems oscillate when disturbed. Oscillatory motion is due to a restoring force that arises when the oscillator is displaced from its equilibrium position. For a mass on a spring, the restoring force is supplied by the spring force, and in a pendulum the restoring force is supplied by a component of gravity. Oscillators constantly exchange energy from one form to another. In damped systems, friction gradually converts mechanical energy to heat. In this lesson you will investigate damped oscillations with a simulation of an automobile shock absorber.

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