Interface Compendium of Student Work


Spring Simulator

Document Type

Class Project

Publication Date

Spring 5-2013


For a Differential Equations project, I created a simulation of a mass
on a spring system. Mass-spring systems with damping (friction) are
often difficult to visualize. I seek to make these results more
intuitive by letting a student interested in math or physics tweak the
constants and play with the spring that way. The user can physically
drag the block with their mouse, or they can fine tune the mass,
damping coefficient, and spring constant. They can also play with the
forcing function, which can be either constant or sinusoidal. In the
latter case, the user can also play with the frequency of the forcing
function – there's even a graph of the response versus the frequency,
so students can explore resonance. Various extra constants like the
damping ratio, period, and angular frequency are displayed at the
bottom, for that curious student. Still, I think students not studying
differential equations will find it fun to play with the spring. My
hope is that harmonic oscillators become much more intuitive and fun
after playing with this program.