- Abstract Oscillatory motion of a particle on a surface may be caused by mechanical vibrations of the surface, acoustic oscillations and shock waves in the surrounding fluid, and also by turbulent flow near the surface. Whatever the source of the excitation, it causes particle oscillations. The character of these oscillations depends on the direction and frequency of the external force, as well as on the stiffness of the bond. Several linear and nonlinear oscillation models are introduced and analyzed in order to show whether particle removal is possible for soft and hard particles on smooth and rough surfaces under various conditions. Application to existing methods of surface cleaning is discussed.