Physics Factsheet Number 83

Experiments- Hooke's Law and Young Modulus
Factsheet 27 went through the elasticity theory required at A-level (and probably further) in some detail. In this Factsheet we will look at some of the experimental work linked to the topic. We will concentrate on how best to make the practical work produce accurate and reliable data, and the graphical work and calculations resulting. Hooke’s Law provides information on the properties of a specific device (spring, length of wire, etc). The Young modulus gives us a value for a material (steel, copper, glass, etc). Hooke’s Law refers to a specific device; the Young modulus refers to a material. Hooke’s Law (revision): F P Practical Hints: 1. Use only small masses. This gives you more data points. It also makes it less likely you will exceed the limit of proportionality. 2. Repeat readings with decreasing masses to ensure there is no hysteresis effect. 3. Some springs are manufactured with the coils forced so tightly together that it takes a significant force to begin separating them. This may affect the starting point of the graph. Use only the straight-line section to find the gradient. Example: A student performs an experiment to find the spring constant of a steel spring, obtaining these results: Mass / g 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 Find the spring constant. Solution: Rewrite the table: Weight/10-3N 0 49 98 147 196 245 294 F/10-3N This is a standard practical going back to GCSE level. A series of masses are carefully added to the mass holder, and measurements of extension and weight are recorded in a table. Ave. extension / 10-3 m 0 1 5 8 13 18 21 Ave. extension / 10-3 cm 0.0 0.1 0.5 0.8 1.3 1.8 2.1

0 e In the proportional region, between O and P (the limit of proportionality): F = ke where F is the applied force (N) e is the extension (m) k is the spring constant (Nm-1)

Practical Hint: Throughout these practicals, always do repeats and averages where possible, and take care with significant figures and units.

Finding the spring constant, k, of a steel spring.

300 250 200 150 100


The results are then graphed: F The spring constant, k, is the gradient (from k = ∆F / ∆e). e

50 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 e/10-3m k = gradient = (200 × 10-3 ) / ( 17 × 10-3 ) = 12 Nm-1 Notice the care that must be taken with the units, and that the best straight line should not be started from the origin in this situation.


20 e/m We find T = 2π√ π√(e/g) π√ Using a range of masses. always use identical springs.444 0.7 7.0 s2m-1.6 3. the student sets the mass on the steel spring into vertical oscillation.10 0.4 6.144 0. π 2 . e/m The gradient of the graph will be 4π2/g.185 Finding “g” from SHM with an oscillating steel spring: m 0. Otherwise one will extend further than the other.740 T 2/s 2 0. T2/S2 Practical Hints: Dynamic measurements (e.7 8. Experiments.073 0.8 5. measuring extension). time for 10 osc. Use small amplitude oscillations to stay within the Hooke’s Law region.5 Practical Hints: In the series combination.60 Hooke’s Law can be used in simple harmonic motion where the period of the mass.20 0 0.7 7. causing the lower support rod to tip.g. Table of results: W W Mass / g 50 100 150 200 250 Ave.83. T = 2π√ π√(m/k) π√ Using k = F mg = e e 0.292 0.111 0. and to measure ten or twenty oscillations.g. e / m 0.40 0.3 11. It is essential to repeat and average. and also to reduce the likelihood of the spring entering “swinging mode” (acting like a pendulum). / s Extension.037 0. Find the value of “g” from the results. T=W W T= 2 T=W Example: With the previous set-up. different springs can be used. Series Parallel W T= 2 Practical Hints: Use small extensions for the spring (small masses) to ensure that you are operating in the Hooke’s Law region. However remember using very small extensions will increase the percentage error in the measurement. The gradient works out to be 4. not just one. T2 / s2 0. we record extension e and period of oscillation T. Solution: Period2. timing oscillations) are more difficult than static measurements (e. m.596 0.1 14. e / cm 3. but be prepared to add the inverse spring constants: 1/k = 1/k1 + 1/k2 The most common error is forgetting to invert 1/k to find k at the end of the calculation.144 0. oscillating vertically from a spring depends on the spring constant.80 Extension. 4π2 / g = 4.9 18.Hooke's Law and Young Modulus Physics Factsheet Combinations of Springs Experimental work is often performed to verify the rules for combining springs in series and parallel. The time for 10 oscillations is measured (and repeated and averaged) for each mass.0 π g = 9.87 ms-2. In the parallel combination.

0mm). (a) k = F/e = 50Nm-1 (b) 50cm (but only if the limit of proportionality is not exceeded) 3. l = 1. (a) Graph these results (with T on the y-axis). 4. × × × × The point of this example is to illustrate the tiny extension expected in Young modulus investigations. Experiments. A micrometer is used to measure the diameter in several places on both wires. T / N 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Extension.0×10-4m = 0. A 1. % change = 0.00 0. (c) Find the cross-sectional area (in m2). Stress = F/A Strain = e/l (Nm-2) (no units) where l is the original length. 6.24 spirit level micrometer straightening mass test masses This set-up. And % change in area of same magnitude as that in length. A steel wire of length 1.Bank House.83. e / mm 0. A graph of results will resemble this example: F/N Young modulus. (b) Find the extension for a load of 25N. we use tensile strain (the fractional increase in length). A best-straight line graph is used for increased accuracy. (d) Calculate the Young modulus for this metal. 4. Shropshire. Easier to measure extension accurately. 2. The spirit level and micrometer allow very small changes to be measured. a long and very thin wire is put under considerable tension. The control wire compensates for changes in temperature or “sagging” of the support frame. Goggles must be worn in case the wire snaps.0mm2.42 0.0×10-6 × 20×1010) = 5. (c) 3.5mm.Wellington. Example: Mild steel has a Young modulus E = 20 × 1010 Nm-2. and to check for any hysteresis effect. 105 King Street. (a) stress = F/A. combined with careful experimentation. a steel spring exhibits extensions increasing linearly from 0 to 20cm. Questions 1. Solution: E = (Fl) / (Ae) = (100×1.50mm. 3. contol wire Test wire Exam Hint: Be prepared to discuss the ways in which the extension of the wire is maximised. Acknowledgements: This Physics Factsheet was researched and written by Paul Freeman The Curriculum Press. (Can you be certain of this?) 3.19 0. we use tensile stress (the force applied per unit crosssectional area). volume = Al % change in stress of same magnitude as that in area.Hooke's Law and Young Modulus Physics Factsheet The Young modulus (revision): As mentioned. Safety point: To maximise the extension obtained. (b) Why is the spring constant generally easier to determine experimentally? 2. instead of extension.14 × 10-6m2 (d) E = gradient × (l/A) = 23 x 1010Nm-2 4. etc. Small loads are introduced onto both wires to make sure they are straight before measurements are taken. (a) Find the spring constant. Also be ready to discuss why accuracy is more difficult to achieve in finding the Young modulus than the spring constant. diameter = 2. (b) Much larger extension when dealing with springs.00m has a cross-sectional area of 1.60 0. and the steps taken to improve accuracy. This causes a decrease in the cross-sectional area. (b) Find the gradient (in Nm-1).05% (b) This is too small to be noticed. Here is a set of results for an experiment with a length of metallic wire (original length.83 0. the Young modulus is a property of a material. 5. 2.0) / (1.99 1. (b) Is this large enough to be noticeable in the results? Answers: 1. (a) Spring constant – property of device Young modulus – property of material. Readings on both loading and unloading are taken for accuracy. Instead of applied force. (b) Gradient approximately 4. Notice these points – they are important: 1.0m length of wire is stretched by 0. TF1 1NU 3 .9 × 105Nm-1. E = stress/strain = (F/A) / (e/l) Or we can write: E = (Fl) / (Ae) (Nm-2) E = (Fl) / (Ae) e/m So the experimental value for E will be found from: E = gradient × (l/A) The Young modulus is a measure of the stiffness of a material It may be useful to emphasise the size of the effect we may see experimentally with an example.5m . Find the extension if a force of 100N is applied to the wire. Using weights from 0 to 10N. (a) Estimate the % change in the stress due to this area change. (a) State the key difference between the spring constant and the Young modulus. Tension. should maximise the accuracy of the final result.