• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17

Measuring spring constant using oscilations of a mass.

Extracts from this document...




The aim of this experiment is to use oscillations of a mass on a spring to the find the spring constant, k and the effective mass of the spring. The reason to carry out this experiment is to find the value of the effective mass, me and to see if it is small enough to be ignored as some teachers think or not.


  • Spring
  • Weights
  • Stopwatch
  • Retord Stand
  • Clamp
  • Table

Apparatus Specification


Range Of Measurement

Maximum Measurement

Minimum Measurement


0.100Kg – 0.600Kg




0.01 sec – 356400.00 sec

356400.00 sec

0.01 sec


The apparatus will be set up as shown in the diagram.

The Retord stand and the clamp are going to be used to hang the spring a certain height above the surface of the table. The masses are going to be kept nearby along with the stopwatch to measure the oscillations. Initially the time will be recorded for 0.100Kg. The spring would be given a reasonable vertical displacement for which the time would be recorded. Which is the time for 20 oscillations. The time recorded would be for 20 oscillations. This experiment is then repeated for the same weight three times and then for the rest of the weights up to 0.600Kg. The reason to carry out the experiment three different times for the same mass is to get a reasonable average. The times will be recorded in the results table, a graph would be drawn and the values of k and me

...read more.

















Preliminary Graph

The graph of the preliminary results is done on the next page

If I use the results that I got and my graph the preliminary values that I get for k and me are as follows:

k        =        4 π2 / M

k         =        4 π2 / 1.373        

k        =        28.75

If I use this value of k my preliminary value for mewould be:

me        =        C  x  k / 4 π2

me        =        0.0125 x 28.77 / 4 π2

me        =        0.00910 kg

My preliminary results come up with the value for k of 28.75 and value of me, which is 0.00910 kg.

The worked out value for k is quite different to the value that was obtained by the force/extension data. The value of effective mass, meisn’t that different to the real value. The actual values of k and me, are 23.88 and 0.00900 kg respectively.

The difference between these values could be due to the following reasons among with others:

  • I couldn’t measure the time properly for the oscillations meaning that I took more time to react after I saw the spring go above or below the fiducial marker.
  • It could also be because the mass added on the spring could have been a little different (e.g. 0.605Kg instead of 0.600kg) then mentioned on the mass itself.

While I am working for my real results I would have to careful about avoiding these mistakes or these reasons for errors as much as I can so that the value I get for k and meare more accurate.


...read more.


Using more then thirty periods for the heights might not have been that accurate due to it taking more time and the increased number might result in losing count.

Less then thirty periods would insure that this technique could be applied in practise but would not be sufficient to form a reliable conclusion and analysis upon.

Comment On Reliability Of Conclusion

According to the analysis and the calculations made my conclusion would be reliable in the sense that the calculated value of g is quite good and accurate to the actual value of g meanwhile the calculated value of h is a bit far from the actual and predicted value. The percentage error in the actual value of h is 3.30%, meanwhile the percentage error of g is 3.25%.

This means that the conclusion is reliable more in favour of g than in h.

Future Improvements Or Further Work

As suggested earlier if the technique of the experiment was to be improved using an electronic timing device that is connected to a computer, so it can also help to plot the graphs.  This method would avoid any additional time taken by the human and avoid any systematic error to quite an extent.

A second improvement could be that the for the height something suitable like a Vernier calliper or more then one set square be used to make sure that the height if the pendulum is accurate.

Cable Trunking Experiment                -  –

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Waves & Cosmology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Waves & Cosmology essays

  1. Investigating the relationship between the mass and time period in a spring-mass system

    on the weight hanger 550g weights on the weight hanger 600g weights on the weight hanger ANNY ADITIONAL/REPEATED READINGS Comment: Comment: TABLE OF RESULTS The mass of the weight hanger: ......99.54g............. The height which weights are pushed up before "launch":......2cm......

  2. The aim of this investigation is to examine the effect on the spring constant ...

    force between those 2 points (which in this case is always 5). Applying this method gives approximate values for the 2.5th and the 7.5th value which hopefully lie very close to the line of best fit (looking at the graphs show that this is quite an accurate approximation).

  1. Experiment B11: Measuring focal length of lenses

    screen, but so much time needs to be spent to find the suitable positions for both apparatus. In this method, no graph and less calculation are needed to measure the mean focal length of the concave lens. Therefore, fewer errors occur and the measured value is more accurate.

  2. Investigating the Vertical Oscillations of a Loaded Spring.

    I will make sure that the clamp holding the spring and weights are over the base of the retort so as to insure that the retort-stand will not fall over. Theory: In this investigation I shall be using the equation T2=4P2 x M K Where T is time period for

  1. Determine the value of 'g', where 'g' is the acceleration due to gravity.

    As the bosses are holding the spring, if not tightened the spring might shoot out and hit someone's eye again a serious injury can take place. * Do not run in the laboratory because you might knock someone's experiment over and causing yourself and others injury.

  2. Investigation into factors affecting the time period for oscillations in a mass-spring system.

    1m Ruler �0.001m - The smallest measurement I will have to take will be the 0.03m amplitude of the oscillations. The percentage error in this measurement will be about 3.3% which is quite large but if the amplitude was changed so as to give a percentage error of 1% or

  1. An experiment to investigate and determine how rubber behaves when tension forces are applied ...

    I originally wanted to have a column of data where it showed the length of the rubber band every time I was to add a weight and then take it off and finally measure the rubber band. This was to unpractical in the final experiment as I would not have

  2. Physics - The aim of this practical investigation was to obtain a value for ...

    Table of Results Resolutions: Meter Rule �1mm, Masses �5% Mass (kg) � 5 % Force (N) � 5 % Extension (mm) �3mm Mean x (mm) 1 2 3 0.100 0.981 �0.049 90.0 93 89.5 89.0 86 89.5 �3.5 0.200 1.962 �0.098 223.0 226 222.0 221.0 218 222.0 �4.0 0.300 2.943

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work