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Hooke's Law Lab Result
This is a complete lab result including procedure, error calculations and detailed analysis and results.

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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.

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