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You are on page 1of 10

**First Year Common Engineering Course
**

FE1073 Introduction to Engineering & Practices

Laboratory Manual

for

Experiment M1

Work and Energy

Laboratory : Mechanics of Materials (MAE)

Location : N3.2-B2-01

Session 2013/2014

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

Restricted

NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL AND AEROSPACE ENGINEERING

MECHANICS OF MATERIALS LABORATORY

M1 WORK AND ENERGY

1. INTRODUCTION

An attempt will be made to demonstrate the conservation of mechanical energy in the

swinging of a pendulum.

A compound pendulum is released from rest at a certain angle from its equilibrium

position and allowed to oscillate about a knife-edged pivot under the influence of

gravity. As the position and the velocity of the pendulum change with time, the

gravitational potential energy it gains is converted to kinetic energy and vice versa. The

potential energy is maximum at the highest point of the pendulum swing, while the

kinetic energy is maximum at the lowest point.

If the sum of the potential energy and the kinetic energy is really conserved then, for any

initial angle of release of the pendulum, one may expect the potential energy gained at

the highest point of the pendulum swing to be all converted to the kinetic energy at the

lowest point of the swing, that is,

‘potential energy gained at the highest point’

= ‘kinetic energy at the lowest point’ (1)

An experimental verification of Eq. (1) is to be carried out here.

2. OBJECTIVE

After you have completed the experiment, you should have a better understanding of:

a. work done by gravitational force,

b. potential energy in a gravitational field,

c. rotational kinetic energy of a solid body,

d. conservation of energy in a gravitational field, and

e. moment of inertia about an axis.

3. OUTLINE OF EXPERIMENT

The tasks involved are as described below.

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

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a. Refer to Figure 1 for the pendulum system. The pendulum is released from rest at a

known angle Θ and its angular velocity at the lowest point of oscillation, as denoted by

ω, is to be determined. The procedure is repeated for different angles Θ

with the

corresponding ω determined.

b. The relevant physical properties of the pendulum are determined. These include (i) the

mass M, (ii) the length L

g

(distance between the centre of mass of the pendulum and its

pivot) and (iii) the moment of inertia I of the pendulum about its pivot. (Note that, due to

symmetry, the centre of mass (or centre of gravity) of the pendulum lies somewhere

along the length of the pendulum bar.)

c. From the data obtained, the kinetic energy of the pendulum at its lowest point and the

potential energy at the highest point are calculated. One may then verify graphically

whether equation (1) is true or not (within experimental errors).

4. APPARATUS AND SET-UP

Apparatus

- 1 pendulum (consisting of a long bar with a round disc at one end and a knife-edged

pivot block at the other end)

- support stands

- 1 digital photo timer

- 1 protractor

- 1 stopwatch

Setting up

Figure 1. Pendulum set up.

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

Restricted

Set up the pendulum as shown in Figure 1.

- Make sure that the pivot block lies along the marked line on the support.

- Adjust the height of the sensor so that it is pointing more or less at the centre of the

pendulum disc.

- Note the reading on the protractor for the pendulum in its equilibrium position.

5 EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE

a. Switch on the digital photo timer. Displace the pendulum by hand by an angle of Θ = 20°

from its equilibrium position. Release the pendulum from rest at this angle, and record

the reading on the timer, that is, t seconds, as the pendulum passes through its

equilibrium (lowest) point for the first time. If you miss this, repeat the experiment again.

Make sure that the pendulum is swinging on a vertical plane. Repeat using other values

of Θ as given by 30°, 40°, 50° and 60°. Record your results in Table 1.

b. The timer is activated only when the pendulum swings into the detection region of the

sensor beam. To be able to use the recorded times in Table 1 to calculate the angular

velocities of the pendulum at the lowest point, the total angular displacement A of the

pendulum, during which the timer is activated, has to be known. You can tell that the

timer is activated by the red indicator light on the sensor. Determine the value of A and

record it on the log sheet. Discuss with your supervisor the method you use for

determining Δ.

c. Switch off the photo timer. Displace the pendulum by a small angle (less than 5°) from

its equilibrium position. Release the pendulum from rest and check that it is swinging on

a vertical plane. Use a stopwatch to measure the time for 10 oscillations. Record your

reading on the log sheet. You should now have the period T of the pendulum for ‘small’

oscillations.

d. Use the mass balance in the laboratory to measure the mass M

of the pendulum.

Remember that the pendulum consists of all components that oscillate, including the

pivot block. Record your reading on the log sheet.

6 EVALUATION AND RESULTS

After completing the procedure in Section 5 above, you would have collected all the data

necessary for calculating the potential energy gained by the pendulum at the highest

point of the swing as well as the kinetic energy of the pendulum at the lowest point of

swing for the various initial angles of displacement.

You will be guided below through a set of small exercises to derive the formulae needed

for the calculation.

Kinetic energy at the lowest point of swing:

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

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During oscillation, the pendulum in Figure 1 is essentially rotating about the knife-edged

pivot. Like any rotating object, if θ denotes the angular displacement of the pendulum

from its equilibrium position, then it has an angular velocity given by dθ/dt at any time

during its motion.

The kinetic energy at that instant is given by

‘kinetic energy of the pendulum’

2

1

( )

2

d

I

dt

u

= . (2)

where I is the moment of inertia of the pendulum about the knife-edged pivot.

Exercise 1. The angular velocity of the pendulum at the lowest point of the swing, as

denoted by ω, can be easily calculated from the values of Δ and the time t

in Table 1 by

using the formula

= e (3)

Check with your supervisor whether you have the correct formula for Eq. (3).

With Eqs. (2) and (3), the kinetic energy of the pendulum at the lowest point can be

calculated if the moment of inertia I is known.

A formula for I can be determined as explained below if we regard the pendulum in

Figure 1 as a point mass M attached to a very light and thin string of length L

g

as

shown in Figure 2. Recall that L

g

is the distance between the centre of mass and the

pivot of the compound pendulum. In Figure 2, the vertical gravitational force acting on

the point mass is resolved into two perpendicular components with magnitudes Mgsinθ

and Mgcosθ, where g is the acceleration due to gravity. The component having the

magnitude Mgsinθ is perpendicular to the string.

Figure 2. The pendulum as a point mass M attached to a light thin string.

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

Restricted

In Figure 2, if we define the distance s by s = L

g

θ then ds/dt = L

g

dθ/dt gives us the speed

of the point mass. From the kinetic energy of the point mass, we obtain

‘kinetic energy of the pendulum’

. ) (

2

1

) (

2

1

2 2 2

dt

d

ML

dt

ds

M

g

u

= = (4)

Exercise 2. Comparing Eqs. (2) and (4), we may express I in terms of M and L

g

as:

= I (5)

To calculate I using Eq. (5), the length L

g

needs to be determined. A formula for L

g

in

terms of the mass M and the period T for ‘small’ oscillations of the compound pendulum

can be deduced by making an analogous comparison between the swinging of the

pendulum and the linear vibration of the spring-mass system in Figure 3.

Figure 3. A linear spring-mass system.

The kinetic energy of the vibrating mass in Figure 3 is given by

‘kinetic energy of the vibrating body’

2

1

( ) ,

2

dx

m

dt

=

(6)

where x is the displacement of the mass from a fixed position.

Comparing Eqs. (2) and (6), we see that the displacement x and the mass m in Figure 3

are respectively analogous to the angular displacement θ and the moment of inertia I of

the pendulum.

According to Hooke’s law, the spring force acting on the mass in Figure 3 is given by

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

Restricted

spring

, F kx = ÷ (7)

where k is the stiffness coefficient of the spring.

Now think of the pendulum system as sketched in Figure 2. For small oscillations, the

moment (about the pivot) of the gravitational force acting on the pendulum is analogous

to the spring force (in the linear spring-mass system in Figure 3) as given by Eq. (7).

Exercise 3. Using the information above and bearing in mind that sinθ ≈ θ for small

angle θ, deduce the quantity (in the pendulum system) which is analogous to the spring

stiffness k (in the linear spring-mass system). (Check your answer with your supervisor.)

From Newton’s law of motion alone (without assuming the principle of conservation of

energy), that is by solving the ordinary differential equation mx k x = ÷ , it can be shown

that the period T

spring

of the vibration of the mass in the linear spring-mass system is

given by

. 2

spring

k

m

T t = (8)

Exercise 4. From Eq. (8), deduce a formula for the period T

of ‘small’ oscillation of the

pendulum by making an analogous comparison between the two systems in Figures 2

and 3. The formula for T should be in terms of L

g

, M, g and I. (Check with your

supervisor the formula you have obtained.)

Exercise 5. From Eq. (5) and your answer in Exercise 4, the distance L

g

can be expressed

in terms of T and g as

=

g

L (9)

Recall that you have earlier on determined experimentally the period T of the pendulum

for ‘small’ oscillations. Using the data, you should now be able to compute the distance

L

g

and hence the moment of inertia I of the pendulum about the pivot. Record the results

of your calculation on the log sheet.

Alternatively, the distance L

g

between the center of mass of the pendulum and the pivot

can be determined if the center of mass of the pendulum is known. Discuss the method

you use for determining the position of the center of mass.

Potential energy gained at the highest point of swing:

Exercise 6. Refer to the pendulum system in Figure 2. When the pendulum is displaced

from its equilibrium position by an angle of θ, what is the potential energy it gains?

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

Restricted

(When the mass is displaced by an angle of θ from its equilibrium position, what is its

vertical displacement from the equilibrium position [in terms of θ and L

g

]?)

‘potential energy gained at the highest point’ = (10)

(Check your answer with your supervisor. Note that at the highest point of the swing the

angular displacement is given by θ = Θ.)

Using the data in Table 1 and the formulae you have worked out above, you should now

be able to calculate the kinetic energy at the lowest point of swing as well as the potential

energy at the highest point of swing. Record your calculations in Table 2.

7 REPORT

7.1 Log Sheet and Formal Report

a. Plot a graph of K.E. (kinetic energy at the lowest point of swing) against P.E.

(potential energy at the highest point of swing). Your graph should be a straight line.

What is the gradient of the line? What can you conclude from this?

b. What are the possible sources of error for the experiment?

7.2 Formal Report Only

a. Include your answers to Exercises 1 - 6 above.

b. For a simple pendulum consisting of a mass M attached to a very thin light string of

length L, in the absence of air resistance, derive the equation of motion for the simple

pendulum in terms of the angular displacement θ relative to its equilibrium position?

For “small” oscillation, namely θ is less than 5˚, what is the period T of oscillation?

Compare with the derived result in Exercise 4 above.

c. For a simple pendulum consisting of a mass M attached to a very thin light string of

length L, use the conclusion of the experiment to derive a formula which may be

used for calculating the angular velocity at the lowest point of pendulum swing.

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

Restricted

Experiment M1: Work and Energy

LOG SHEET

Name : Date :

Group : Submit to :

________________________________________________________________________

WORK AND ENERGY IN A GRAVITATIONAL FIELD

Initial pendulum offset from the 90

mark = _________

O (rad) t (s)

Table 1

Time for 10 oscillations: 10× T = _________ s

¬ Period T of oscillation = _________ s

Mass Mof pendulum = _________ kg

Total angular displacement A of pendulum for which the timer is activated = ______ rad

Distance L

g

of the centre of gravity of the pendulum from pivot line = _________ m

Moment of inertia I = ____________ kg m

2

e (rad/s) P.E. (J) K.E. (J) % discrepancy

Table 2

Notes. (1) P.E. refers to the potential energy at the highest point of the pendulum, while K.E. the

kinetic energy at the lowest point. (2) Attach the graph of K.E. against P.E. to this log sheet.

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU

Restricted

Discussion:

(a) What is conserved and non-conserved force? Give an example of conserved and non-

conserved force.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

(b) What is the gradient of the graph of K.E. against P.E.? What can you conclude from this?

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

(c) Determine the center of mass of the compound pendulum through experiment and determine

the distance, L

g

, between the center of mass of the compound pendulum and the pivot. Compare

with the value evaluated according to Eq. (9), is it reasonable to simplify the compound

pendulum as a simple pendulum?

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

(d) What are the possible sources of error for the experiment? Give estimates for the

percentage errors involved.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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