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7/15/14 Physics 251-BD2 Ngwa Standly Lab 10: Hooke’s Law – Measuring Forces Abstract Whenever a small force is applied to an elastic object in equilibrium, the object will either expand or contract, causing a displacement. An opposing force of equal magnitude is required to restore the object’s initial state. Hooke’s law tells us that the restorative force is proportional to the displacement caused by the distortion force, and the proportionality constant is a unique property of the elastic object. This law can be expressed mathematically as; F = -Kx Where x is the displacement from equilibrium and K is the constant of proportionality unique to the object in question. The negative sign indicates that the restorative force must be acting in the opposite direction as the distortion force. In this lab, we explored Hooke’s Law to determine the proportionality constant of the spring in a spring balance, otherwise known as the spring constant. In our case, the spring constant was determined to be 156.88 N/m. Experimental Arrangement We assembled the materials and run the lab as instructed by the lab manual. 7/15/14 Physics 251-BD2 Ngwa Standly Summary of results See Appendix I bellow for data collected during the lab. When a mass is suspended on a spring balance, the weight of the mass causes a displacement (expansion) of the spring. According to the free body diagram bellow, the force that causes distortion of the spring is the weight W, and the restorative force is the normal force, which is – W. According to Hooke’s Law, -W = -Kx, And K = W/x Or W = Kx ; implying that K is the slope of W(x) graph (see appendix II) 7/15/14 Physics 251-BD2 Ngwa Standly Discussion This was a simple and straightforward lab. The only challenge was the appropriate reading of the spring’s displacement on a ruler. I think it would have been ideal to investigate if the spring constant that we calculated is correct. This could have been done by using the calculated spring constant to determine the weight of an object whose weight is unknown, and then comparing the calculated weight to the weight of the same object determined by an electronic balance. Conclusion According to the graph in appendix II, the spring constant for the spring we used is 156.88 N/m. 7/15/14 Appendix I Physics 251-BD2 Ngwa Standly 7/15/14 Physics 251-BD2 Ngwa Standly Appendix II Weight vs Spring Displacement 3.5 f(x) = 156.88x R² = 1 3 2.5 2 Weight (N) Linear () 1.5 1 0.5 0 0 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.02 Spring Displacement (m) 0.03 7/15/14 Physics 251-BD2 Ngwa Standly Answers to Questions 1) Yes. One would have to monitor the displacement of each spring individually and calibrate it accordingly. 2) According to Hooke’s Law, every spring respects the expression F = Kx. This makes it very easy to calibrate any spring; one would just have to use a known force to displace a spring, then use information of the known force and the displacement to determine the K for that spring. Once K is known, then any force can be determined based on the displacement it causes on that spring.