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An Experiment To Examine the Effect of Springs In Parallel

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I am going to set up an experiment to see what happens to the extension of springs that are all the same size and material in parallel. I will use identical springs and in parallel they will look like this:

I am going to add on springs in parallel (see above) to a fixed load and examine what effect this has to the extension of the springs. The load that will be kept the same throughout the experiment will also be kept at mid-point of all springs.

EXTENSION will be the increase in length compared to the original length with no force applied. The extensions will tell me what is happening to the length of the springs when there are more springs to support a fixed load.


I predict that as I add on springs in parallel to a fixed load like so:

the extension of the springs will decrease.

A metal spring is made up of molecules. Between these molecules are attractive forces

like so:

When we add a load (N) to the spring the length of the spring increases, (it stretches) and therefore becomes weaker. The force pulling the spring is pulling on each molecule inside it. The force, acting on the molecules, makes them pull away from each other. When this happens the resultant force decreases and the spring extends. (Found information for last sentence in a revision text book)

When we add on more springs, in parallel (to the same load), the extension will decrease because the molecules are still being pulled apart, but not as much as before because the force exerted by the load is shared between all the springs.

...read more.


  • String

The string must be in parallel in with the springs. I must keep the same string and keep it in the same position because otherwise the dot that I draw (explained in method) will move and I will be given incorrect readings.

  • Spring

I will use the same springs for all the readings obtained, and the same type (coil) of springs throughout the whole experiment. I will make sure that all the springs that I use are all steel springs. I can’t use different materials of springs because I have decided to use all the same type of springs, in this case all steel springs. Different materials of springs will have different amounts of molecules in them.

I will make sure I use the same length, thickness and wide-ness of springs. This way I know that there are the same amounts of molecules in each spring. The weight has equal amounts of coils to pull apart.

  • Load (N)

On the first page of my planning I said was going to keep the load constant. So I will not change the load in my experiment. It will be the same all throughout my experiment. I am not going to change it because if I did then I will be looking at what happens to the extension of springs in parallel when different loads are applied and this is not what I have decided to do. From using what I know, I don’t think that I would find out much of a conclusion to the question if I changed both the load and number of springs.

  • Distance- between springs

I will keep the same distance between each spring. and the load at mid point between the springs (in parallel). This way each spring has the same chance of extension.

...read more.


Safety glassesPointer (made from splint) very sharpString,  pen, protractorScissors Masking tapeWeight1 meter rule

I will set up my experiment as I did in the planing under the heading method, but this time use longer spring (double the size)

*Stretching force will be kept constant throughout the experiment*

  • I will make sure everything is firm. I will clamp the ruler along side the spring and attach a horizontal pointer to the bottom of the spring in such a way that the pointer is close to the surface of the string (which will be in parallel with the string) and is at 90  to the spring.
  • I will then take a reading of the length of the string with no load and mark a dot on the string. Like so:
  • Then I will apply 8N to the spring and record the reading, which the pointer points to on the string. I will mark a dot here and measure between the two dots. This measurement will be the extension.
  • I will take off the load and add another spring in parallel and apply the load again, at mid point. I will read off the reading and record it.
  • Repeat the step above until there are 8 springs in parallel.
  • I will repeat the experiment three times and record the results. Each reading will be averaged.

After I have got my average results, I will use them to plot a graph. I will plot a graph of extension against number of springs.

I would then get the results from the previous experiment, and this one, and compare the results.


The length of the springs that I used was 2cm. I used 8N.


Calculations for average for each number of springs

= reading 1 + reading 2 + reading 3


E.g.  for ‘number of springs in parallel 6’

        = 4.3cm +4.2cm+4.3cm


        =4.27cm (2dp)

Calculation for greatest variation

= the biggest reading for each number of springs – the smallest reading

E.g.  for ‘number of springs in parallel 2’

                               =reading 2 – reading 1

                              = 13.5cm – 12.5cm

greatest variation  = 1.00cm

...read more.

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