# oscillation

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## Oscillation

Any effect that varies in a back-and-forth or reciprocating manner. Examples of oscillation include the variations of pressure in a sound wave and the fluctuations in a mathematical function whose value repeatedly alternates above and below some mean value.

The term oscillation is for most purposes synonymous with vibration, although the latter sometimes implies primarily a mechanical motion. The alternating current and the associated electric and magnetic fields are referred to as electric (or electromagnetic) oscillations.

If a system is set into oscillation by some initial disturbance and then left alone, the effect is called a free oscillation. A forced oscillation is one in which the oscillation is in response to a steadily applied periodic disturbance.

Any oscillation that continually decreases in amplitude, usually because the oscillating system is sending out energy, is spoken of as a damped oscillation. An oscillation that maintains a steady amplitude, usually because of an outside source of energy, is undamped. See Anharmonic oscillator, Damping, Forced oscillation, Harmonic oscillator, Vibration

## oscillation

[‚äs·ə′lā·shən]
(control systems)
(mathematics)
The oscillation of a real-valued function on an interval is the difference between its least upper bound and greatest lower bound there.
The oscillation of a real-valued function at a point x is the limit of the oscillation of the function on the interval [x-e, x + e ] as e approaches 0. Also known as saltus.
(physics)
Any effect that varies periodically back and forth between two values.
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