Welcome to practical physicsPracticle physics - practical activities designed for use in the classroom with 11 to 19 year olds


Anything that vibrates, in other words shows a rhythmic, repetitive motion around an equilibrium position, may be considered an oscillator.  Objects large and small can show such behaviour; for example, electrons in the quartz crystals of watches and clocks, metal structures loaded cyclically (e.g. bridges or aircraft wings), a car bouncing on its suspension, or the larynx in the human voice-box

These experiments enable students to see various oscillators in action, investigate factors that affect their periodic time and represent the motion graphically. They are suitable for students at introductory and intermediate levels of study. For students at advanced level, see also the related collection Simple Harmonic Motion.

Related Collections

Simple harmonic motion


Introduction to oscillations

Period and frequency’

Frequency of a ticker-timer

Earthquakes in the laboratory

Investigating energy transfers in a pendulum

Investigation of a simple pendulum

Factors affecting the period of an oscillator

Oscillation of a tethered trolley

Related Guidance

Oscillations and clocks

Some ideas for home experiments: oscillators