Jump to navigation Jump to search “Oscillator” redirects here. This what is an oscillator relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. The term vibration is precisely used to describe mechanical oscillation.
The simplest mechanical oscillating system is a weight attached to a linear spring subject to only weight and tension. Such a system may be approximated on an air table or ice surface. All real-world oscillator systems are thermodynamically irreversible. This means there are dissipative processes such as friction or electrical resistance which continually convert some of the energy stored in the oscillator into heat in the environment. In addition, an oscillating system may be subject to some external force, as when an AC circuit is connected to an outside power source. In this case the oscillation is said to be driven.