# mode of vibration

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## Mode of vibration

A characteristic manner in which vibration occurs. In a freely vibrating system, oscillation is restricted to certain characteristic frequencies; these motions are called normal modes of vibration.

An ideal string, for example, can vibrate as a whole with a characteristic frequency, where *L* is the length of string between rigid supports, *T* the tension, and *m* the mass per unit length of the string. The displacements of different parts of the string are governed by a characteristic shape function. The frequency of the second mode of vibration is twice that of the first mode. Similarly, modes of higher order have frequencies that are integral multiples of the fundamental frequency.

Because the frequencies are in the ratios 1:2:3…, the modes of vibration of an ideal string are properly called harmonics. Not all vibrating bodies have harmonic modes of vibration, however. *See* Harmonic (periodic phenomena), Vibration