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Simple Pendulum and Hookes Law

Performed on 1/25/2016
Introduction
The experiments explained throughout this lab focuses on two separate concepts: the motion of a
simple pendulum and an exploration of Hookes law. While they are different experiments, the two are
linked in their ability to exemplify the role of a restoring force on simple harmonic motion.
The first experiment conducted was that of a simple pendulum. To qualify as a simple
pendulum, a point mass, in this case a metal sphere, is suspended from a length of string or wire. It is
necessary that radius and mass of the string be negligible compared to the sphere in order to describe the
system as a point mass hanging from a massless string.
When the string is kept taught and the sphere is displaced from its resting point and allowed to
swing freely, the motion can be mathematically described as periodic. The maximum displacement from
the equilibrium position is considered the amplitude (A). Amplitude in this case was measured in
degrees ( ). The pendulums frequency (f) is the number of oscillations the pendulum undergoes
over a unit of time. The inverse of frequency is the period (T), T = 1/f. The force produced by gravity on
the sphere (mg) and tension on the spring (TF) work to return the sphere to its position of equilibrium.
This is the restoring force. Since the magnitude of the gravitational force is a vector sum, it depends on
the position of the mass.This gives us the flowing mathematical description of the restoring force (figure
1.1)
F=mgSin()
[1]

Figure 1.1: Forces acting on point mass of pendulum

When the angle of displacement is relatively small, we can assume that Sin() can be substituted with
only . Furthermore, is equal to arc length (x) divided by the length of the pendulum (l). This yields
the following equation.

x
F mg =kx
l

[2]
From equation [2] we can see that (k) is equal to

mg
l . This is the restoring force constant. We can

substitute this new value of (k) into the period equation.

m
l
T =2
=2
k
g

[3]

To demonstrate the relationship between length of the string and period, we can manipulate equation [3]
to show that T2 increases proportionally with the length of the string.
4 2
T2=
l
g

( )

[4]

We also investigated Hookes law, studying displacement from equilibrium of a mass loaded
onto a spring. The force working against the spring is the mass of the added weight multiplied by
gravity, while the restoring force working to pull the spring back to equilibrium is equal to kx (figure
1.2). This is a similar derivation as in equation [2], but k now refers to the spring constant and is a

byproduct of how stiff the string is. For hanging springs, the restoring force is works opposite the force
of gravity and is directly proportional to the displacement from equilibrium.
F=kx
[5]
Like the pendulum, the spring will undergo oscillations when stretched and released. The
equation for this motion is the same as in equation [3] with k included. To obtain a linear relationship
between mass and period, square the period to obtain
m
4 2
T =2
=T 2=
(m) .
k
k

( )

[6]
Figure 1.2: Hookes Law

Methods (Brian Coghlan)

To conduct the pendulum portion of the experiment, a length of lightweight string was attached
to a horizontal crossbar protruding from a vertical rod fastened to the lab table. The string was located

approximately .3m from the vertical bar so as to allow for unobstructed movement. A small spherical
mass was then affixed the end of the string. Keeping the string taught, the mass was moved 15 from
the equilibrium position and released. At the time of release a stopwatch was initiated in order to count
the total time taken for the mass to complete twenty-five full oscillations. Once this was completed, the
length of the string was increased by approximately 10cm and again the total time for twenty-file
oscillations was recorded. This was done six times with the string length ranging from 14cm to 77cm.
Following this, the length of the string was affixed at a set length and only the amplitude was
varied. Starting at an amplitude of 5 the total time to complete thirty oscillations was recorded. The
amplitude was then increased by increments of 5 until an amplitude of 20 was reached. At this point
two final tests were done with amplitudes of 40 and 60.
For the portion of the lab dealing with Hookes law, we first suspended a spring from the same
horizontal crossbar that the pendulum had previously been attached to. A meter-long mirror was
positioned behind the spring to gain a relative position of what its unstressed equilibrium was. Once this
had been recorded, a mass of 100g was attached to the spring and the difference between its original
position and its new position was recorded. This was then repeated adding an additional 100grams until
the total weight on the spring was 300g.
The second part of the spring experiment was conducted by first placing a 100g weight on the
spring, then the spring and mass were pulled down slightly and allowed to oscillate back and forth. The
time for 25 complete oscillations was recorded and the period was calculated and recorded as well. The
process was then repeated using masses of 200g and 300g.

Results (Brian Coghlan)

From the data collected, we were able to calculate the period (T) and frequency (f) of the
pendulum based upon the string length and amplitude. We plotted the value of T 2 against the length of
the string (figure 1.3) to show that they are directly proportional to one another. Using the slope of that
line and equation [4] the value of gravity was found to be 10.3m/s 2. This yielded a percent error of 5.2%

from the actual value of 9.8m/s2. This error can most likely be accounted for by the movement of the bar
that the pendulum was attached to, the human error in operating the stopwatch, presence of friction, and
in possible slight miscalculations of string length. Overall, it is clear to see that the results of the
experiment match that of the mathematical models of simple harmonic motion of a simple pendulum.
Figure 1.3

T2 vs L
3.5
3
2.5

f(x) = 3.83x + 0.12

R = 0.99

T2 (s2) 1.5
1
0.5
0
0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

Length (m)

For the second part of the pendulum experiment, the period was plotted against an increasing
amplitude (figure 1.4). As is evidenced by the graph, the values stay close to the same value until the
displacement is increased past 20. At this point, the graph begins to have much more significant
deviations. This was expected, as one of the criteria for the equation [3] is that the angle of displacement
must be small. The length of the pendulum was measured to be 60cm, so using equation [3], we should
have seen a constant value near 1.55s for the period had the angle stayed small. From the beginning four
data points of figure 1.4 our percent errors were .2%, .45%, .38%, .13%, but as the angle greatly
increased, our errors increased to 1.08% and 2.04%.
Figure 1.4

Period vs Amplitude
1.59
1.58
1.57
1.56

Period (s) 1.55

1.54
1.53
1.52

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

Amplitude (Deg)

For the Hookes law experiment we were endeavoring to determine a spring constant through
measuring displacements and periods with varying weights attached to the spring. In figure 1.5 we
graphed the force on the mass (mg) versus the displacement. Pursuant to equation [5] the slope of this
line should be equal to that spring constant (k). Given that the data formed an almost perfect linear
relationship, it is likely that the value of 8.6N/m is an accurate measurement of the spring constant.

Figure 1.5

Gravitational Force vs Displacement

4
3

f(x) = 8.6x - 0
R = 1

Force (N) 2
1
0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

0.4

Displacement (m)

We also plotted T2 against the mass on the spring (figure 1.6). By doing this, the slope of the line

created is equal to

4 2
k , as derived in Equation 6. Using this information we calculated the value of k

to be 8.4N/m.
Figure 1.6

T2 vs Mass (kg)
2.5
2
1.5

T2 (s2)

f(x) = 4.79x + 0.53

R = 1

1
0.5
0
0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

Mass (kg)

This yields a percent error of 4.1% between the value of k found in part one and the value of k found in
part two. This error could be due to several factors: human error in working the stopwatch, the failure to
account for the mass of the spring in the calculations, and slight movement in the experiment apparatus.

However, despite the error, it is clear to see that the data accurately represents the analytical models
provided by Hookes law.

Data (Scott Trueblood)

Pendulum Data:
L of Pendulum, T for 25
Period Squred,
L of string,I_s
I
Oscillations
Period,T
T^2
0.12
0.14
18.5
0.9
0.81
0.215
0.235
24
0.96
0.9216
0.31
0.33
28.8
1.152
1.327
0.44
0.46
33.8
1.352
1.8279
0.56
0.58
38.5
1.5384
2.367
0.75
0.77
44.16
1.7664
3.12

Amplitude, A
(Deg)
5
10
15
20
40
60

T for 30
Oscillations
Period, T
46.41
1.547
46.71
1.557
46.69
1.556
46.56
1.552
47
1.5667
47.45
1.58167

Period vs Length
2
1.5

R = 0.99

Period (s)

0.5
0
0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.8

0.9

Length (m)

T2 vs L
3.5
3
2.5

f(x) = 3.83x + 0.12

R = 0.99

T2 (s2) 1.5
1
0.5
0
0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

Length (m)

0.6

0.7

Period vs Amplitude
1.59
1.58

f(x) = 0x + 1.55
R = 0.91

1.57
1.56

1.54
1.53
1.52

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

Amplitude (Deg)

Mass,m (kg)
0
1
2
3

Mass, m (kg)
0
0.1
0.2
0.3

0
0.1
0.2
0.3

Posistion, s_i
(m)
Displacement (m)
0.13
0.24
0.36
0.48

Total time t, (s) Period T (s)

T^2 (s^2)
0
0
25.13
1.005
1.01
30.51
1.22
1.488
35.07
1.403
1.968

0
0.11
0.23
0.35

Slope = 4.79
k = 8.24
% Difference = 4.19

3.5
3

f(x) = 8.6x - 0
R = 1

2.5
2

1
0.5
0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

0.4

Displacement (m)

T2 vs Mass (kg)
2.5
2
1.5

Period^2 (s^2)

R = 1

1
0.5
0
0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

Mass (kg)

Group Member 1: Brian Coghlan (Introduction, Methods, Results)

Group Member 2: Scott Trueblood (Data)