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Investigate Hooke's law, using masses and springs.

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Introduction

Aim My aim is to investigate Hooke's law, using masses and springs. Background knowledge When weights are attached to one end of a spring it stretches. Hooke's law states that the extension depends directly on the load, that is: Extension (E) is proportional to the load (M) added. So if this is true doubling the load should double the extension. I know the limit of proportionality is when the spring becomes less stiff and the same force causes a greater stretch than below the limit of proportionality. If you carry on exerting a force on the spring then it looses its elasticity and will not return to its original shape. Prediction As the extension is proportional to the force (load) I think the spring will obey Hooke's law until the limit of proportionality. Plan I think the best way to display my results are in a graph because then you can see exactly how the spring obeys Hooke's law, you then also see where it reaches it's limit of proportionality. ...read more.

Middle

Here are some ways to make it safer: * You could wear goggles when placing more weights onto the mass holder. * Place the weights on at arms length. * Place the weights on the mass holder gently do not drop them on it. * Make sure the large weight holding the clamp on the table is secure and will not fall off. * When placing weights on the mass holder don't let anyone stand in a 2m radius of the experiment. * When the spring looks like it will break abort the experiment. Fair test Ways of making it a fair test are: * Trying to get springs that are the same strength. * Always using the same weight intervals. (100g) * Always try and read the ruler from the same point. * I will do the experiment 4 times because you then have a smaller chance of having errors and if you have a bad reading you can compare it with the rest. * To make it a fair test whenever I start the experiment I will always finish it, and if for some reason I can't, when I come back to it I will start it again. ...read more.

Conclusion

- Biggest = 3.72 - 3.95 = -0.23 - = Average ext. - Smallest = 3.72 - 3.375 = 0.35 From this I can see my largest error to be only 0.35cm. I can extend this to say my experimental error is +/- 0.35cm per 100g extension. Because this figure is small it shows I have executed the experiment reliably. Evaluation The results that are in red I have ignored because they do not follow my pattern and are anomalous results. A reason for them being like this could be due to the error of parallax. This is shown below: If I were to repeat the experiment I would try to minimise the magnitude of errors by using a more accurate method of measuring the extension. At the moment I am just using a ball of plastercine and a paper clip, there are many ways of decreasing the margin of error for example using lasers but this is prohibitively expensive and add an added danger. For the amount of reduction in error this would be pointless as there is always going to be a slight error. Conclusion I have found that the extension is proportional to the load and therefore I have satisfied my original prediction. ...read more.

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