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# Experiment 2

Kater’s Pendulum
Apparatus: Kater’s Pendulum with attachable weights, stop-watch, meter scale. Purpose of experiment: To determine an accurate value for acceleration due to grvity ( g ) in the lab. Basic Methodology: To use compund pedulum’s time period and a ﬁxed pedulum length and calculate g. Time period and ﬁxed length can be measured with relatively better accuracy compared to the length of simple pendulm where one needs to know the length between point of suspension to the centre of mass of the bob.

I Introduction
In simplest case one determines g from the measurement of the time period of a simple pendulum. In ideal case one needs to make a point-mass pendulum connected in a weightless string to ﬁxed point support. Practically this is diﬃcult condition to acieve. Henry Kater devised a method in the early nineteenth century. In his method, he constructed a compound pendulum, which he oscillated about a knife-edge, then turned upside down and oscillated about a knife-edge on the other side of the center of mass (CM). If the two periods are made equal by adjusting the weights on the pendulum, g can be determined from only the period and the distance between the two knife edges. Essentialy, use of the parallel axis theorem for the moment of inertia of a rigid body allows us to avoid approximating a point mass on a massless string. When the period of the pendulum is identical when swung from either pivot point, the equation for g is identical to that of a simple pendulum with length equal to the distance between the pivot points. Since this length is measurable to a high degree of accuracy, this permits a very precise determination of the local value of g. This method was used in the 1930’s to determine the value of g in Washington as 9.80080 ± 0.00003 m/s2 , which is accurate to within 1/1000th of a percent. The gravity exerts a torque, τ , on the compound pendulum τ = M gd. sin θ, (1)

where M is the mass of the object, θ is the deviation from the vertical, and d is the distance from the center of mass to the point about which it is oscillated. The negative sign comes from the fact that in this case gravity is a restoring force. But τ = I0 α, where I0 is moment of inertia about the point of 2 θ oscillation and α is the angular acceleration (= d 2 ). dt d2 θ + dt2 M gd I0 . sin θ = 0, (2)

when oscillations are of small angels then sinθ = θand we can write d2 θ + dt2 which has a solution as θ = θmax sin The time period for this oscillation is T = 2π I0 . M gd (5) M gd I0 .t. (4) M gd I0 .θ = 0, (3)

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PHYSICS LABORATORY MANUAL

We know from the parallel axis theorem that the moment of inertia of an object about an axis parallel to an axis through its center can be written as I0 = IC + M R 2 , (6) where IC is the moment of inertia about center of mass, R is the distance from the axis of I0 to the center of mass. Taking I 1 as the moment of inertia about K1 and I2 as the moment of inertia about K2 , we can get T 1 = 2π and T 2 = 2π
2 IC + M l2 , M gl2 2 IC + M l1 , M gl1

(7)

(8)

If the weights on the pendulum can be adjusted such that T1 = T2 , then 2 2 IC + M l1 IC + M l2 = , l1 l2 and IC (l1 − l2 ) = M l1 l2 (l1 − l2 ), or I C = M l 1 l2 , So now we get T1 = T 2 = T = 2π l1 + l2 = 2π g L , g

(9) (10) (11)

(12)

We see that l1 and l2 individually have disappeared and only the sum L occurs in the equation. So if the masses are adjusted such that the two time periods are very nearly the same, then g will be determined primarily by the sum of the periods and the distance between the two knife-edges with weak dependence on the diﬀerences in the lengths and periods. The distance between the two knife-edges, can be measured to a fraction of a millimeter. By solving equation (7) and (8) for IC , equating the results, and expressing the ﬁnal result in terms of the diﬀerences and sums of the distances l1 , l2 and periods T1 , T2 we can arrive at 8π 2 (13) g = T 2 +T 2 2 2 . T1 −T2 1 2 l1 +l2 + l1 −l2 If T1 ∼ T2 and l1 − l2 is large, then the second term in the denominator will be extremely small, allowing us to determine g to a very high level of accuracy. 2

Experiment 2. Kater’s Pendulum

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II Experiment