19 Oscillatory Motion Examples: Detailed Explanations

The movement of an object in a regular rhythm in a back and forth motion is said to be an oscillatory motion.

The object in an oscillatory motion will move in one dimension at its fixed position periodically. Let us discuss some of the oscillatory motion examples here below:-


The swing keeps on oscillating back and force depending upon the force incident on the person sitting on the swing.

oscillatory motion examples
Swing in motion; Image Credit: Pixabay

The push force is applied to the person sitting over the swing to oscillate.

Read more on Amplitude of oscillation interesting facts and faqs.


The pendulum is a mass like a bob suspended with a wire attached to it and another end of the wire fixed at one point. There is a variation in the kinetic and potential energy of a mass attached to it is seen continuously as the pendulum oscillates with the change in the angle of suspension.

Newton’s Cradle

Newton cradle is made up of bobs of equal masses suspended by a wire of equal length.

Newton Cradle; Image Credit: Pixabay

This cradle is an example of an elastic collision because the kinetic energy of one bob at the corner will be transferred to the second bob converting it into the potential energy and releasing it back to kinetic energy to the last bob in a row and the process continues.

Wall Clock with Pendulum

The mechanical wall clocks come with the pendulum or the crystal oscillator that works as a multivibrator and oscillates every second.

Wall clock with oscillator; Image Credit: Pixabay

Read more on Angular frequency of oscillation: Interesting facts and Faqs.

Tuning Fork

As you hammer it, the vibrations are set as the two prongs of the tuning fork keeps on oscillating. The vibrations of the prongs create a tone that travels through the molecules in the surrounding air.


If you release the slinky in the free air holding one end of a slinky in your hand, the springs of the slinky will oscillate back and forth in the vertical direction converting the potential into kinetic and kinetic energy back to potential energy.

Slinky; Image Credit: Pixabay

Read more on Angular Frequency Of Oscillation: Interesting FACTS and FAQs.


You must have come across toys made out of spring that is usually used as a decorative piece in your car, and you must have seen these toys oscillating continuously when the car is in motion.

Spring toy; Image Credit: Pixabay

Birds Flapping Wings

The birds flapping their wings while venturing in the sky, is also a kind of oscillatory motion. The birds flap their wings regularly in a rhythmic pattern.

Pelican flapping its wings; Image Credit: Pixabay

Read more on What Is The Amplitude Of Oscillation: How to Calculate It.

Rope Stretched

When you stretch the rope tightly, holding it at two ends, you will notice that the oscillatory pattern will be generated across the length of the rope in between your hands.


Two persons sitting on the seesaw will oscillate the seesaw in the up and down motion. The seesaw is fixed at one point in the middle where the center of gravity of a seesaw persists.

Seesaw; Image Credit: Pixabay

Read more on How To Calculate Oscillation: Exhaustive Insights.

Vibration in Crystal

As the electric energy or vibrational energy is passed to the crystal, the molecules of the crystal vibrate on receiving this external energy. The vibrational pattern of the molecules is due to the back and forth motion of the molecules constituted in the crystal.

Old Weighing Scale

You must have seen the old weighting machines, that oscillate when the weight loaded on both the pans are near to equal.

Weighting scale; Image Credit: Pixabay

Read more on What Is Oscillation Frequency: Interesting Facts and FAQs.

String plug on Guitar

As a guitarist plug a string on a guitar, the string vibrates generating the oscillatory motion of a string forming a loop of waves.

Object Hanging on the Spring

The object hanging on a spring will oscillate up and down motion or back and forth depending upon the vertices of a spring. The object attached to the spring at one end will oscillate if the pull or push force is applied to the object or spring.

Bouncing Ball

A ball bouncing on the ground bounces in an oscillatory motion.

Bouncing ball

The kinetic energy is converted to the potential energy of a ball as it rises at a particular height converting all its kinetic energy into the potential energy and again bounces back to the ground converting the potential into the kinetic energy.

Read more on Damped Oscillation Examples: Detailed Insights.

Leaf Oscillating with Breeze

If you have carefully noticed the leaves or tendrils as a small breeze blows across the plants, you will see that the leaf oscillates at a certain rhythm as if they are dancing in the flow with the breeze. Here also you see the oscillatory motion.

Blade Vibrated Keeping on the Edge

You keep the blade on the edge of the table and slightly bend the blade on the end keeping the other end of the blade fixed at a point below your finger. You will see that the blade will oscillate at high vibrational energy.

Shot-put Before Making a Throw

Shot put thrower before making a throw in the air, he will oscillate it back and forth giving it an oscillatory motion, and then release it in the projectile motion making an angle of 45 degrees.

Athletic throwing a shotput; Image Credit: Pixabay

Read more on the Difference between Damped oscillation and forced oscillation: Insights.


Jogging is a kind of oscillatory motion too. While jogging a person lifts the feet and then places them back on the ground. This frequent occurrence of the activity and in the same pattern and rhythm is said to be in the oscillatory motion.

Sea Waves

Due to the gravitational pull of the moon, there are tides seen in the seawater.

Sea waves; Image Credit: Pixabay

These tides set the molecules constituting the seawater into oscillatory motion. The molecules oscillate along the surface of the water in an up and down motion.

Read more on Harmonic Oscillator Examples: Exhaustive Insights and Facts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is variable when the object is in the oscillatory motion?

The object oscillating in a particular direction frequently will give out vibrational energy.

There is a transformation of the energy during the oscillatory motion of the object along with the angle of oscillation, time period of oscillation, momentum, velocity, and acceleration of the object.

What is a role of a frictional force exerted on the object in the oscillatory motion?

If there was no frictional force acting on the object, then the object would have remained in the oscillatory motion only.

The frictional force due to external sources and the air resistance will tend to bring the object to its static equilibrium state by reducing the energy and the velocity of the object in the oscillatory motion.


Hi, I’m Akshita Mapari. I have done M.Sc. in Physics. I have worked on projects like Numerical modeling of winds and waves during cyclone, Physics of toys and mechanized thrill machines in amusement park based on Classical Mechanics. I have pursued a course on Arduino and have accomplished some mini projects on Arduino UNO. I always like to explore new zones in the field of science. I personally believe that learning is more enthusiastic when learnt with creativity. Apart from this, I like to read, travel, strumming on guitar, identifying rocks and strata, photography and playing chess. Connect me on LinkedIn - linkedin.com/in/akshita-mapari-b38a68122

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