Synchronization of pendulum clocks and metronomes

Research Horizons Seminar
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - 12:20pm
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005
Georgia Tech
In 1665, Huygens discovered that, when two pendulum clocks hanged from a same wooden beam supported by two chairs, they synchronize in anti-phase mode. Metronomes provides a second example of oscillators that synchronize. As it can be seen in many YouTube videos, metronomes synchronize in-phase when oscillating on top of the same movable surface. In this talk, we will review these phenomena, introduce a mathematical model, and analyze the the different physical effects. We show that, in a certain parameter regime, the increase of the amplitude of the oscillations leads to a bifurcation from the anti-phase synchronization being stable to the in-phase synchronization being stable. This may explain the experimental observations.