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Circular Motion

Syed Faraaz Salik Physics Lab 12/17/10

Hypothesis Circular motion refers to an object moving in a circular path. Since its direction is always changing there is a constant force acting upon it even if the object is moving at constant speed. This force is called a centripetal force and it is directed toward the center with the velocity of the object being tangential at any given point on the circle. Below is a diagram that illustrates this type of motion. v Fc v v If the centripetal force no longer exists an object in circular motion would continue in a line tangent to its motion. A conical pendulum demonstrates the effects of circular motion. In a conical pendulum a mass on the end of a string is spun in a circle with a hanging mass attached to the other end of the string as shown below.

To find how long the mass being spun takes to make one full revolution the period needs to be calculated. The period is the amount of time an object takes to make a full revolution or cycle. In a conical pendulum, using the length of the string and both masses the following equation can be used to calculate the period:

My hypothesis is that the measured conical period will mirror the calculated period found using the above equation. Experimental Design A rubber stopper, thin tube, string, stopwatch, and small masses were used in this laboratory experiment. After setting up the apparatus shown in the above diagram, the mass on one end of the string was spun with the hanging mass remaining stationary. This insured that the set length of string L would remain constant. The amount of time the mass took to make thirty revolutions was recorded and then divided by the amount of revolutions to get the period. This setup was repeated varying the set length L and varying the hanging mass. Then the theoretical period was calculated and compared to the measured period. Results Table 10.1: Comparing the theoretical and experimental periods of mass m with a constant length L and a variation of hanging masses M. Trial 1 2 3 4 5 6 Length (m.) 0.41 0.41 0.41 0.41 0.41 0.41 M (kg.) 0.0500 0.079 0.090 0.1000 0.1232 0.1500 Ttheo. (s.) 0.722 0.575 0.537 0.51 0.46 0.417 Texp. (s.) 0.679 0.561 0.531 0.5 0.449 0.416

Table 10.2: Comparing the theoretical and experimental periods of mass m with a constant hanging mass M and a variation of lengths L. Trial 1 2 3 Length (m.) 0.41 0.28 0.25 M (kg.) 0.1 0.1 0.1 Ttheo. (s.) 0.51 0.42 0.39 Texp. (s.) 0.5 0.46 0.401

4 5 6

0.21 0.18 0.10

0.1 0.1 0.1

0.36 0.34 0.25

0.37 0.331 0.259

Discussion Based on the values above, our hypothesis was correct. The measured and predicted values were very similar with the biggest discrepancy between the two values being.04. Therefore the derived equation for the period (in a conical pendulum) can be used to calculate the period for a mass being spun in a conical pendulum. The discrepancies that were encountered can be attributed to human error. Swinging the mass around while keeping both the position of the hanging mass and the length of the string constant was challenging. Also, the shorter the length, the harder it was to count how many revolutions the mass had gone through. These sources of error were probably the main reason for the slight differences in the experimental and theoretical results. Literature Cited PY 171 Physics Laboratory I Lab Manual, pgs. 30-31 "The Conical Pendulum." Home Page for Richard Fitzpatrick. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <>. Watson, Casey. "Centripetal Force." Lecture.