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In this experiment, a motion sensor is used to measure the position of an
oscillating mass as a function of time. The frequency of oscillations will be obtained
by measuring the velocity and acceleration of the oscillations, and ftting the data to a
sine function. The dependence of oscillation period on the mass applied and on the
spring constant will be studied.
An object oscillating in simple harmonic motion is described by
( ) ( ) sin 2 sin y A ft A t π ϕ ω ϕ = + = +
y = distance from the equilibrium position at time t
A = amplitude = maximum distance from equilibrium position
f = frequency = number of oscillations per second. An oscillation is one complete
ω = angular frequency of the oscillation = 2πf
ϕ = initial phase angle
T = The period of the oscillation,
= the velocity of the mass = ( ) cos A t ω ω ϕ − +
= the acceleration of the mass = ( )
sin A t ω ω ϕ − +
When a mass hangs from a (massless) spring and oscillates vertically, its period is
m = mass hanging from spring
k = spring constant (k = force/elongation)
Squaring both sides,
If the spring’s mass is not negligible this becomes (for a uniform spring)
2 2 3
which can be written
2 2 2 3
For a particular spring, this relation of period squared to mass can be written as a
y Cx D = +
y T = and x = mass.
So a graph of T
versus mass should be a straight line with
Pre lab assignment
1.Find the period and the frequency of an object that oscillates 30 times in 44
2. In the sample graph, fnd the value of each of the following quantities; make sure
you include proper units!
initial phase angle (of position-
3.In the sample graph, at t ≅ 0.9
seconds, y = maximum. Explain
v = 0
a = negative maximum
Also, at t ≅ 1.2 sec., y is at the
midpoint of its oscillation. Explain
v = negative maximum
a = 0
Pasco 750 Interface
Spring, 6 cm by 1.5 cm from Pasco track accessories
Large table clamp, right angle clamp, multi-position pendulum clamp and rods
to hold spring and motion sensor (see Figure 1)
50 gram mass holder
50 grams of masses (1x10 gram and 2x20 gram masses)
Procedure and Analysis for the Simple Harmonic Motion Experiment
I.Set-up of computer and interface
1.Turn on the Pasco 750 interface frst. Verify that the indicator light is on.
2.Turn on the computer and login.
3.Set up the equipment, as shown in Figure 1
4.Click on Data Studio, following separate Data Studio instructions.
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3
Simple Harmonic Motion
D i s p l a c e m e n t
( m e t e r s )
5.Select Motion Sensor.
6.Double click on Motion to get to Sensor Properties.
7.Under Motion Sensor, increase trigger rate to 25 Hz.
8.Under Measurement, deselect position, and leave velocity and acceleration
9.Click and drag velocity from the Data Window, to the graph icon to create a
velocity versus time graph.
10. Click and drag acceleration from the Data Window to the bottom of the
velocity graph to create an acceleration graph below the velocity graph.
11. Click on the lock icon to keep the time axes of the plots locked together.
II. Set-up of equipment
Set-up a desk clamp and rods to hold the spring as in Figure 1. Hang the 50
gram weight holder from the spring, as shown in Figure 1.
III. Measurement of elongation of spring versus
Hold the meterstick in a vertical position next to the
weight holder, with the 100 centimeter end touching
the foor. Read the position of the bottom of the
weight holder; record the total mass on the spring
and the position of the mass into an excel
spreadsheet. Add 10 grams to the holder and again
read and record the mass and position into the
excel spreadsheet. Repeat until the total hanging
mass is 100 grams (the 50 gram holder plus 50
grams of weights.) This data will be graphed later to
determine the spring constant of the spring.
IV.Set-up of the motion sensor
Use the desk clamp and rods to set up the motion
sensor as in Figure 1. The motion sensor should
be resting on the foor directly below the weight
holder, and should be leveled so that its beam
goes directly upward. Set the beam width
Figure 1. Spring,
hanging mass, motion
miscellaneous rods and
clamps for the SHM
switch on the sensor for narrow beam and connect the yellow plug to digital
channel 1 of the Pasco interface, and the other plug to channel 2.
V.R ecording of position-time data during oscillations
With just the 50 gram holder on the spring, raise or lower the rod holding the
spring until the bottom of the weight holder is about 40 centimeters above the
motion sensor. This is done so that the distance from sensor to weight holder
will never be less than about 30 centimeters during an oscillation. This is to
insure that the motion sensor accurately measures the distance.
Start the weight holder oscillating vertically, about 5 centimeters above and
below the equilibrium position. Click on START to begin recording. After a
minimum of 5 oscillations, click on STOP.
VI. Determining the oscillation frequency by a sinusoidal ft
1.Click on Zoom Select to select the data to be ft. Go to Fit, and select Sine
Series Fit. Fit the velocity data, and the acceleration data separately. The
data points should form a smooth sine curve. If they don’t, delete the data
and record data again. To delete the data, click on run#1 in the experiment
set-up window, hit delete, and click on OK.
2.The ftted curve should match the data; if it does not ft well, ask the
instructor to assist you.
3.Into a second excel spreadsheet, record the mass on the spring, the
amplitude of the velocity, the amplitude of the acceleration, the frequency of
the velocity, and the frequency of the acceleration.
4.Print out a few representative graphs to be included with your laboratory
5. Increase the hanging mass to 60 grams (total) and again adjust the spring
support so that the mass hanger is about 50 cm above the motion sensor.
Repeat V and VI.
6. Repeat the above steps for a total mass of 70, 80, 90, and 100 grams. (Print
a graph for each successful run.)
7. Finally, disassemble the apparatus and measure the mass of the spring on a
balance. Record this number.
1. Determine the spring constant by plotting the data from part III. Plot a
graph of Force versus x and use linear regression to fnd the slope of the
best ft straight line. This is the spring constant k, since
F kx =
F k x ∆ = ∆
2.Determine the spring constant k using data from the oscillating masses.
First calculate the period of oscillation: Use the relation,
the frequency from the ft to the velocity data. Calculate T
, and plot T
versus mass m. Fit the data with a linear trend line, and determine the
slope and y-intercept of the ft. Use equation (4) to obtain a second
determination of the spring constant k. Compare these two values of K.
3.Compare the determinations of k from step 1 and step 2 of the calculations,
and present the percent diference between the two. Also, compare the
predicted (equation (5)) and experimentally determined values of the y-
intercept, and discuss the percent diference between them.
4.Predict the value of the intercept of the graph obtained in step 2 by
calculating D using equation 5, the measured mass of the spring, and the
value of k obtained from the graph in step 2. Is the value of D equal to the
intercept you determined in step 2. What is the percent diference between
them? Discuss the result in your report.
5.For every oscillating hanging mass, is the amplitude of the acceleration
graph divided by the amplitude from the velocity graph equal to the angular
frequency of oscillation?.
6.For each mass, compare the frequency determined from the velocity and
acceleration data, and compute the percent diference
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