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MARA University of Technology

Sabah Branch
Faculty of Applied Science
Diploma in Science
PHY 110
Simple Pendulum

Prepared by ;
Audrina Shirley Norbert
Prepared for ;
Miss Siti Aminah
Date of experiment ;
29th July 2010

Date of Submission
5th August 2010.

Objective :
The purpose of this experiment is to determine the acceleration due to gravity, g, by means
of a simple pendulum.
Apparatus :
Stop watch, meter rule, pendulum bob, string, retort stand, and clamp.
Theory :
Near the surface of planet, all objects experience the same acceleration due to the force of
gravity. The acceleration of the gravity due is to be 9.793394 m/s2. This constant
acceleration due to gravity appears in the relationship of the period of a simple pendulum to
its length. Therefore, by measuring the period of a simple pendulum as a function of its
length, the acceleration due to gravity may be determined.
A simple pendulum consist of a point mass, m suspended from a pivot by a massless,
unstretchable string of length, l as shown in the figure 1.

Some point in the pendulums swing, the string makes an angle with the vertical, the torque
on the pendulum is given by,

Using Newtons Second Law for rotation, and taking the moment of inertia of the simple
pendulum to be l = ml2, we obtain,

Thus the period, T of a simple pendulum is related to its length, L, by the formula

Squaring both side of equation (1), we get,

Procedure :
1. Firstly, a small metal annulus was suspended by a thin thread from a support which
allowed the length of the thread to be varied.
2. Then, the length of the pendulum which was measured from the point where the
cotton emerged from the cork to the centre of the bob was adjusted by drawing the
cotton through the cork.
3. Next, the free end was secured on the clamp and the pendulum was given a small
displacement, L.
4. The time of 20 completed swings, measured against a fixed mark on the bench was
taken, and the periodic time (T) found (readings when the swings became elliptical)
were rejected.
5. All the data were recorded in Table 1 (refer results / data).
6. Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 were repeated for 3 times to get the average value of length and
time taken for 20 oscillations.
7. T2 was calculated for each length and the column of Table 1 was completed .
8. A graph of T2 versus L was plotted on a graph paper.

Results / Data :


Time for 20 oscillations


Period T(s)

T2 (s2)

Calculations / Data Analysis :

All answers are given in SI unit.
1. Determine the gradient (slope) of the graph and calculate g.
2. Calculate the percent difference between the value of g calculated in part (1) above
(g experiment) and the standard value of g standard=9.81 m/s2 by using the following
3. Calculate value of uncertainties of g (g)


A simple pendulum is set up in the laboratory to test how the length of a simple pendulum
affects the time for a complete swing. The pendulum is momentarily stationary when it is at
the top of its swing. During this moment, it has zero kinetic energy and maximum
gravitational potential energy. As the pendulum falls, potential energy is transferred to kinetic
energy. The speed increases as the pendulum falls and reached its maximum at the bottom
of the swing. Here the speed and kinetic energy are a maximum, and the potential energy is
a minimum. As the pendulum rises the kinetic energy is transferred back to potential energy.
The speed of the pendulum decreases and falls to zero as it reaches the top of its swing,
with the potential energy a maximum again. During the oscillation, a small amount of energy
is lost due to air resistance. There are two forces acting on the pendulum bob, gravity which
tries to pull the bob downwards and resisted by tension in the string. These two forces can
only be balanced when they are in opposite directions. This occurs when the pendulum is in
the middle of its swing; hence the bob swings back and forth.

Force due to gravity = weight of bob = mg

M=mass of bob,
g=gravitational field strength,
g=10 N/kg at the Earths surface
In the experiment, errors in value may have occurred due to friction in the string where it
moves on the metal rod, and there is some air friction. Also, the theoretical value used for g
may be slightly off due to local variations in its value. There may be some error introduced
by imperfections in the ruler used to measure length and in the stop watch. An additional
error is due to human error when operating the stop watch.
Acceleration due to gravity by means of simple pendulum, g = ______________m/s2.
References :

Giancoli. (1984-2009). Physics for scientist and engineers with modern physics.
In D. C.Giancoli.Pearson Education,Inc.