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# What causes damping?

Last updated date: 17th Sep 2024
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Hint: When attempting questions based on vibrations, like the one given to us above keep in mind the various terms and concepts regarding waves and vibrations and damping and the various factors that can affect them. Know when to use these concepts and in what form when solving questions.

Damping in simple terms means the restraining or stoppage of vibratory motion such as noise, alternating electric current et cetera by simply dissipating the energy of these motions. Best examples for damping motion can be shock absorber in vehicles and even carpet pads.
Damping can also be called as the process of taking away of energy from a certain oscillatory motion so that in due time it stops being in motion and comes to a stop.
For example in oscillatory motion, we say an oscillation is damped when we see the amplitude and mechanical energy of the system slowly decrease and eventually come to zero because of the result of dissipative forces like air resistance, friction et cetera.
In damping, amplitude and frequency go on decreasing till they reach zero, while at the same time the time period increases.
There are three types of damping,
light
critical
heavy damping.
In light damping as we discussed earlier, it is defined as the case where oscillations are observed but the amplitude goes on gradually decreasing over a period of time. Critical damping is the case where the system returns to equilibrium position in the shortest time possible but without any oscillations. Heavy damping is when the system returns to its equilibrium position very slowly and without any oscillations. This type of damping happens when the resistive forces like air resistance, friction et cetera exceed the forces of those causing critical damping.
So in conclusion we can say that resistive forces or force in general is the major cause of damping.

Note:
There are different types of damping like electrical circuit damping where the alternating current surges back and forth and gets damped by electrical resistance. Then there's radiation damping, which converts the vibrating energy of moving charges into electromagnetic energy, which is then radiated or damped out as infrared, radio waves, or even visible light.