Difference Between Period and Frequency (With Table)

Period vs Frequency

The terms period and frequency are most commonly found in the field of physics. Both these terms are inversely proportional to each other

The period (generally represented as variable T) is the time required for a particle in a medium to complete one cycle of vibration. The period is measured in “seconds.”

The frequency of a wave refers to the number of waves that pass a certain fixed point within the unit time. Frequency can also be the number of vibrations or cycles completed in the unit time. It is measured in “Hertz”.

The difference between the terms period and frequency is that the former is concerned with measuring the time it takes for a particle to complete a vibrational cycle, while the latter is concerned about measuring the number of cycles that are completed within the given unit time.

Comparison Table Between Period and Frequency (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of comparisonPeriodFrequency
Type of measurementIt is measured in terms of time. Any measurement of the time taken by an object is considered to be its period.It is measured in terms of the rate at which the entity completes a number of cycles in the given time.
DenotationThe period is denoted by the letter “T” due to it being concerned with the measurement of time.Frequency is denoted by the letter “f”, which is just a shorthand of the word “frequency” itself.
DefinitionThe period is the time required for a particle in a medium to complete one cycle of vibration.The frequency of a wave refers to the number of waves that pass a certain fixed point within the unit time.
Unit for measurementThe unit used to measure the period is “seconds”. It is a standard unit of measurement for time.The unit used to measure the frequency or rate of a wave is “Hertz”, named after the scientist “Heinrich Hertz”.
RelationIn terms of how they are related, we look at the formula of a period – Period = 1 / FrequencyFrequency is inversely proportional to the period, and represented as – Frequency = 1 / Period

What is Period?

A period is a time quantity, and hence when measuring the duration, we use the standard unit of measurement for time, which is “seconds”.

The period is also denoted with the help of the letter “T”. A period, in general, can the time taken by something to do any task within the given time.

A period is the time required for a particle in a medium to complete one cycle of vibration. It can also be defined as the duration of time within which a wave cycle is completed or passes through a fixed point.

At many times, we see the use of the term “period” in fields such as mathematics, physics, as well as chemistry. The reason for this is because a period can be used for the measurement of many entities and the time it takes for them to complete a given task.

A period has become a standard term for measurement in our daily lives as well, such as in a classroom, the duration that a teacher takes to teach a particular subject is referred to as a “period”.

The period is also correlated with the term “frequency” and is inversely proportional to it as well. It can be represented as shown below –

Period = 1 / Frequency

What is Frequency?

The frequency of a wave refers to the number of waves that pass a certain fixed point within the unit time. It is the rate at which the oscillation of a wave occurs within the given period of unit time.

In the late 19th century, a German physicist by the name of Heinrich Hertz was able to prove the existence of radio waves and their reception. He was able to do so with the help of Maxwell’s theories.

The unit of frequency of a radio wave, which is one cycle per second, was named after the scientist and denoted by “Hertz”. Frequency is also indicated by the letter “f”, which is just a shorthand of the word “frequency” itself.

Frequency is used in many aspects of day-to-day life as well and is significantly involved in areas where we need to count the rate of occurrences of something, such as the frequency at which birds migrate in a year.

In terms of formula, frequency is inversely proportional to the period, and represented as –

Frequency = 1 / Period

Main Differences Between Period and Frequency

• A period is a measurement for the time taken for something to complete a task, while frequency is a measurement of the rate at which the entity ends a number of cycles in the given time.
• A period is denoted by the letter “T”, representing time, while frequency is indicated by the letter “f”.
• The period is defined as the duration of time within which a wave cycle is completed, while the frequency of a wave refers to the number of waves that pass a particular fixed position within the unit time.
• The unit of measurement for the period is “seconds”, while the unit of measure for frequency is “Hertz”.
• The period is inversely proportional to frequency, represented by T = 1/f, and vice-versa.

Conclusion

The terms frequency and period are correlated to each other and are even inversely proportional. With the increase in frequency, we observe the time taken to decrease. The period can be defined merely as the duration of time taken to complete something, and in physics, it means the time taken by a wave to complete one vibrational cycle.

Frequency, on the other hand, is merely the measurement of the number of cycles that can be completed within unit time, or the rate. Both these terms can be seen in multiple fields of study, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and many more.

Word Cloud for Difference Between Period and Frequency

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Period and Frequency. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.