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Investigate Whether Elastic Bands and Springs Behave the Same Way.

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SCENARIO: Investigate whether elastic bands and springs behave the same way. AIM: When a load(weight) is applied to either an elastic band or a spring, do they return to their original length i.e. is the extension directly proportional to the load. BACK GROUND INFORMATION: The structure of elastic bands and springs are different. By studying a Newton metre, I noticed that the marks between each Newton applied were equidistant. This implies that a spring returns to the original length, therefore the load and length are directly proportional. This is because the structure of a spring is coiled. Therefore the molecules have been twisted and pulled apart, this creates the spring, as the molecules try to pull themselves back together. An elastic band is made of polymers. Hooke's Law states when a material is stretched, the change in length is directly proportional to the stretching force applied. However when an elastic limit is reached the material will be deformed and no longer obey the law. When a material is stretched, the molecules are pulled further away from each other, weakening the bonds, if the bonds break then the molecules cannot return to their original state. This is known as the elastic limit. Therefore, the number of molecules will effect the elastic limit of a material. The more molecules there are the more energy is needed to weaken the bonds. ...read more.


Safety goggles will be worn in case the elastic band or spring snap. The stand will be clamped to the desk so that it does not fall over or move forward. I will also behave in an appropriate manner, making sure not to nudge the apparatus. After completion of the pilot study, I proceeded with the experiment and assembled the following equipment; APPARATUS: The following equipment will be used; * Spring(3) [ 2cm width, 5cm length] * Elastic band(3) * Stand * Pointer * Hook * 1 newton weights * Clamps * Metre ruler * Safety goggles METHOD: 1) Take necessary safety precautions. 2) Assemble the apparatus (using a spring), check the equipment for faults, and then I will assemble(as illustrated in the diagram) 3) Clamp stand to desk so to stabilise the equipment, and insure it cannot be knocked over 4) The weights will then be applied steadily, 1 Newton at time. 5) Stable the weights, once at rest read metre ruler parallel with eye level and record the result. 6) Repeat these steps, increasing the weight by 1 Newton at a time until a total load of 10 Newtons has been applied. 7) Unload the weights 1 Newton at a time and record the results. 8) Alternate between using an elastic band and spring until three sets of results have been collected for each. ...read more.


To improve these limitations in my method, the experiment could have been performed in controlled temperature conditions. However this would be too expensive. In order to reduce human error, is the incorporation of advanced technology, to measure the length of the elastic band more precisely, and load the weight in order to minimise bounce. If the same elastic band and spring were used on the three occasions, then the bonds would gradually weaken. By using different elastic bands and springs however, the surface area, length, width, may have varied, which would cause various amounts of molecules If three identical but unused elastic bands and springs had been used, then the results gathered would have been more accurate. Another limitation in my conclusion is that the results cannot be taken generally, my aim was to discover if elastic bands and springs behave in a similar manner. The experiment conducted was of only one situation. Other experiments could be conducted to discover if elastic bands and springs act similarly in different situations, such as coiling the elastic band, applying the load to elastic bands and springs conducted in parallel, or series. Or the variables could be altered for example exploring how much elastic bands and springs expand/contract when various levels of heat are applied, when the load and size are kept the same, or altering the width, size, and cross sectional area, when the load and temperature are kept constant. ...read more.

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