Waves & Resonance

High and Low Q

In High and Low Q, a metal spring vibrates resting either on a metal table or on a soft pad. You can notice that the spring vibrates for a long time when positioned on the solid table, but that its motion quickly dies out when positioned on the pad. Objects which lose their energy slowly are said to have "high Q" ("Q" stands for quality factor), while objects which lose their energy quickly are said to have "low Q." The value of "Q" is a function of the amount of friction in the system.

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