# Angular frequency

In physics, **angular frequency** * ω* (also referred to by the terms

**angular speed**,

**radial frequency**,

**circular frequency**,

**orbital frequency**,

**radian frequency**, and

**pulsatance**) is a scalar measure of rotation rate. It refers to the angular displacement per unit time (for example, in rotation) or the rate of change of the phase of a sinusoidal waveform (for example, in oscillations and waves), or as the rate of change of the argument of the sine function. Angular frequency (or angular speed) is the magnitude of the vector quantity angular velocity.

One revolution is equal to 2*π* radians, hence

*ω*is the angular frequency (measured in radians per second),*T*is the period (measured in seconds),*f*is the ordinary frequency (measured in hertz) (sometimes symbolised with*ν*).

## Units

In SI units, angular frequency is normally presented in radians per second, even when it does not express a rotational value. From the perspective of dimensional analysis, the unit Hertz (Hz) is also correct, but in practice it is only used for ordinary frequency *f*, and almost never for *ω*. This convention is used to help avoid the confusion that arises when dealing with frequency or the Planck constant because the units of angular measure (cycle or radian) are omitted in SI.

In digital signal processing, the angular frequency may be normalized by the sampling rate, yielding the normalized frequency.

## Examples

### Circular motion

In a rotating or orbiting object, there is a relation between distance from the axis, , tangential speed, , and the angular frequency of the rotation. During one period, , a body in circular motion travels a distance . This distance is also equal to the circumference of the path traced out by the body, . Setting these two quantities equal, and recalling the link between period and angular frequency we obtain: ω = v / r . {\displaystyle \omega =v/r.}

### Oscillations of a spring

Part of a series on |

Classical mechanics |
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An object attached to a spring can oscillate. If the spring is assumed to be ideal and massless with no damping, then the motion is simple and harmonic with an angular frequency given by

where

*k*is the spring constant,*m*is the mass of the object.

*ω* is referred to as the natural frequency (which can sometimes be denoted as *ω*_{0}).

As the object oscillates, its acceleration can be calculated by

*x*is displacement from an equilibrium position.

Using "ordinary" revolutions-per-second frequency, this equation would be

### LC circuits

The resonant angular frequency in a series LC circuit equals the square root of the reciprocal of the product of the capacitance (*C* measured in farads) and the inductance of the circuit (*L*, with SI unit henry):

Adding series resistance (for example, due to the resistance of the wire in a coil) does not change the resonant frequency of the series LC circuit. For a parallel tuned circuit, the above equation is often a useful approximation, but the resonant frequency does depend on the losses of parallel elements.

## Terminology

Angular frequency is often loosely referred to as frequency, although in a strict sense these two quantities differ by a factor of 2π.

## See also

- Cycle per second
- Radian per second
- Degree (angle)
- Mean motion
- Orders of magnitude (angular velocity)
- Simple harmonic motion

## References and notes

- ^
^{a}^{b}Cummings, Karen; Halliday, David (2007).*Understanding physics*. New Delhi: John Wiley & Sons Inc., authorized reprint to Wiley – India. pp. 449, 484, 485, 487. ISBN 978-81-265-0882-2.(UP1) **^**Holzner, Steven (2006).*Physics for Dummies*. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Publishing Inc. pp. 201. ISBN 978-0-7645-5433-9.angular frequency.

**^**Lerner, Lawrence S. (1996-01-01).*Physics for scientists and engineers*. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-86720-479-7.**^**Mohr, J. C.; Phillips, W. D. (2015). "Dimensionless Units in the SI".*Metrologia*.**52**(1): 40–47. arXiv:1409.2794. Bibcode:2015Metro..52...40M. doi:10.1088/0026-1394/52/1/40. S2CID 3328342.**^**Mills, I. M. (2016). "On the units radian and cycle for the quantity plane angle".*Metrologia*.**53**(3): 991–997. Bibcode:2016Metro..53..991M. doi:10.1088/0026-1394/53/3/991.**^**"SI units need reform to avoid confusion". Editorial.*Nature*.**548**(7666): 135. 7 August 2011. doi:10.1038/548135b. PMID 28796224.**^**P. R. Bunker; I. M. Mills; Per Jensen (2019). "The Planck constant and its units".*J Quant Spectrosc Radiat Transfer*.**237**: 106594. Bibcode:2019JQSRT.23706594B. doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2019.106594. S2CID 201264843.**^**P. R. Bunker; Per Jensen (2020). "The Planck constant of action_{A}".*J Quant Spectrosc Radiat Transfer*.**243**: 106835. Bibcode:2020JQSRT.24306835B. doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2020.106835. S2CID 214138755.**^**Serway, Raymond A.; Jewett, John W. (2006).*Principles of physics*(4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks / Cole – Thomson Learning. pp. 375, 376, 385, 397. ISBN 978-0-534-46479-0.**^**Nahvi, Mahmood; Edminister, Joseph (2003).*Schaum's outline of theory and problems of electric circuits*. McGraw-Hill Companies (McGraw-Hill Professional). pp. 214, 216. ISBN 0-07-139307-2.(LC1)

**Related Reading:**

- Olenick, Richard P.; Apostol, Tom M.; Goodstein, David L. (2007).
*The Mechanical Universe*. New York City: Cambridge University Press. pp. 383–385, 391–395. ISBN 978-0-521-71592-8.