How to Calculate the Period of Motion in Physics


When an object obeys simple harmonic motion, it oscillates between two extreme positions. The period of motion measures the length of time it takes an object to complete oscillation and return to its original position. Physicists most frequently use a pendulum to illustrate simple harmonic motion, as it swings from one extreme to another. The longer the pendulum's string, the longer the period of motion.

Things You'll Need

  • Calculator
  • Divide the string's length, measured in meters, by the factor measuring acceleration due to gravity, 9.81 meters per second per second. If the string measures 0.6 meters, then the equation is 0.6 / 9.81 = 0.06116.

  • Find the square root of this answer. In the example, the square root of 0.06116 is 0.2473.

  • Multiply this result by twice the constant pi, 6.2832. In the example, you would multiply 0.2473 by 6.2832 to get 1.55 seconds. This is the period of motion.


  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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