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This week the laboratory procedure will be different compared to what we normally

do. Instead of all the class doing the same experiment we shall spread our effort and look

at two different but somewhat similar experiments. Half of the class will study motion of

the simple pendulum, while the other half will be looking at the behavior of springs. As

you work through your experiment today, keep in mind that next time you will present

your work to the people from the other half of the class, who have not done this

experiment and will not be familiar with your results. So, think about the best way you

can present your findings to make them accessible to your fellow students.

The following are the descriptions of both experiments. Before coming to the lab

read through both and think which of the two experiments you will be interested in doing.

I. A Simple Pendulum

A pendulum is an object suspended from a point in such a manner that it can swing in an

arc of a circle. A simple pendulum is one in which all of the mass is concentrated in a

point at the end of a massless cord.

However, we may make a real pendulum that approximates the ideal simple pendulum by

using a very light string with a (relatively) large mass at the end.

principle which determines this rate? If not, what variable(s) determine the rate?

Come up with your own list of variables before coming to the lab and be ready to

test it when you are there.

periodic motion, which we have already discussed, is rotation. Recall what

physical quantity is called period and what physical quantity is called frequency.

What is the frequency of a grandfather clocks pendulum? The period? Are you

sure?

46

Investigate the behavior of a simple pendulum and the factors which govern the period of

its oscillations (see Sec. A.6). In order to measure the period, set up the motion sensor in

such a way that it either registers the position of the pendulum bob all the time or catches

the position of the bob as it crosses the sensors field of view.

Three factors that we might expect to have an effect on the period are the amplitude of

the swing, the mass of the pendulums bob, and the length of the pendulum. Using the

guidelines below, investigate the amplitude, the mass, and the length independently --vary one while holding the other two constant. Before carrying out the experiments, write

down your predictions of which variable(s) will affect the period and why they will have

an effect.

3. How will you measure the amplitude of the swing? At first, focus your attention

on small and medium amplitudes, then try to do one very large amplitude. Does it

look like that there is a difference between the case when all the amplitudes are

small and when you have the large amplitude? If so, try to find the boarder line

between the small and the large amplitudes. Use the small amplitudes for the

rest of the experiment.

4. Be sure to record the value of all three variables while varying any one of them.

5. Measure the period a few times for each configuration according to Sec. A.6.

6. Note that the length is measured from the pivot point at the top to the center of

mass of the bob.

7. Vary each parameter over several (more than four) values. If you suspect that the

period does not depend on a variable, use a few widely spaced values. If you then

find that the period does depend on that value, take more data points in between

these values. Be organized and present your data in order of the values not in the

order taken.

47

8. On all graphs, place T on the horizontal in units of seconds per radian rather than

seconds per oscillation.

9. Except for the large amplitude trial, do you observe any relationship between the

amplitude and the period of the oscillations? Plot a graph if necessary.

10. Do you observe any relationship between the mass and the period? Plot a graph if

necessary.

11. Do you observe any relationship between the length and the period? Plot a graph

if necessary.

You should have one graph for each parameter that affects the period of oscillation.

12. What shape is each graph drawn? Write the equation (with coefficients from the

trendline) which best fits your graph. Figure out the units of each coefficient.

14. One of the coefficients in your trendline equation should be a familiar quantity.

What quantity is it? What value do you find?

Solve the equation that contains the familiar quantity for the period in units of seconds

per oscillation (not seconds per radian). You have just derived the equation for the period

of a simple pendulum.

If you have time left, design a pendulum for each period of 0.25 sec, 1 sec, and 1 min.

Design a pendulum which has the same frequency as your pulse. Test your designs.

48

All springs stretch when pulled. The amount of stretch (the extension) is clearly related to

the amount of force exerted to stretch (or compress) the spring. We are going to discover

the specifics of this property.

Hooke's Law describes the relationship between the extension of a spring, x, and the

force required to cause the extension, F. We can set up the force sensor and the motion

sensor so that we can find the relationship between F and x. Think about the best way to

do this.

Aside: We have not used the force senor until this point. You can set it up by plugging it

in to GLX in the same way as you usually do with the motion sensor. Make sure to zero

out the force sensor before taking any measurements. The sensor gives positive readings

of force if you push on it and negative readings of force if you pull on it. All the readings

are given in newtons (N).

Take several readings of force for various extensions of the spring. You can measure

extension either with the motion sensor or with a regular meter-stick/ruler. Plot the force

versus the extension. Repeat your experiment with two other springs. Label each graph

according to the color of the spring.

2. Use Excel to find the equation of the best trendline; this relationship (equation) is

known as Hooke's Law. What are the coefficients in Hooke's Law? If you think it

should be linear, then find the uncertainty on the slope and intercept (Recall

Excel-Lab). Otherwise, simply note the equation and the shape of the trendline.

You have just experimentally derived Hooke's law for your springs. Each spring has

characteristic coefficients. In the equation of the trendline, the coefficient of the linear

49

term is denoted k and is known as ``the spring constant." k is a measure of the stiffness of

the spring.

Measure the spring constant from the graph for each of your springs. Be sure to match the

values of the spring constants to the springs of the correct colors.

periodic motion, which we have already discussed, is rotation. Recall what physical

quantity is called period and what physical quantity is called frequency.

Investigate the behavior of a spring pendulum and the factors which govern the period of

its oscillations (see Sec. A.6). In order to measure the period, set up the motion sensor in

such a way that it either registers the position of the mass on the spring all the time or

catches the position of this mass as it crosses the sensors field of view.

Think about what factors may affect the period of oscillations of a mass on a spring and

how you can design an experiment to test your predictions.

Two factors that we might expect to have an effect on the period are the stiffness of the

spring k, and the mass m attached to the spring.

Using the guidelines below, investigate how the mass may affect the period.

Measure the oscillation period T, associated with several small amounts of mass (on the

order of 200 grams or so). Note: the oscillating mass should be displaced only slightly

from the equilibrium position. A large initial displacement can change the attention of the

lab from periodic motion to projectile motion which would be bad.

50

Plot m versus T, where T is measured in units of seconds per radian, not seconds per

oscillation.

4. What shape is your graph? Write the equation (with coefficients from the

trendline) which best fits your graph. Figure out the units of each coefficient.

5. One of the coefficients in your trendline equation should look familiar. What

value does it remind you of? To check your hypothesis, repeat your experiment

with two other springs. Are you results consistent?

Aside: Solve this equation for the period in units of seconds per oscillation (not seconds

per radian). You have just derived the equation for the period of a spring.

51

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