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My aim in this experiment is to find out how force affects the extension of a spring.

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                How does force affect the extension of a spring?


My aim in this experiment is to find out how force affects the extension of a spring.

Background Information

Springs are used as force-measuring instruments in everyday life, for example in spring balances and Newton meters. They are also used in watches, toys, cycles, cars and trampolines. It is important to know how much force springs can bear so that these things can be safe for people to use.

        Springs are used so much in everyday life because they are elastic. This means that when a force is exerted onto them they will change shape (stretch) and when the force is removed the spring will regain its original shape. There is a relationship between the force exerted on the spring and the extension of the spring, this is known as Hooke’s law, which states that:

                The extension of a spring is proportional to the force applied

This can also be expressed as:

                                        F = ke

                               Force (N) = constant x extension (mm)

The constant is the stiffness of the spring. A spring with a low value for k is weak and a spring with a high value for k is strong.

...read more.


Masking tape to attach the pin sized pointer to the spring1N weights

Fair Test (Variables and Constants)

I will make it a fair test by using the same apparatus throughout my experiment apart from the one variable I am changing which is the weight. I will vary the weight by increasing it by 1N each time. The variables that shall remain constant are the ruler, spring, clamps and pin-sized pointer. My input variable is the one I am exploring which is the weight. My output variable is the extension of the spring.


I do not know the range of values I shall use because I will begin by using 0N and increase this by 1N each time until the spring is permanently deformed.


The main steps for setting up the apparatus are:

  • Hang the spring from one of the clamps
  • Using the making tape attach the pin sized pointer to the loop at the bottom of the spring
  • Connect the ruler to the other clamp making sure the pin sized pointer is in line with the number ‘0’ on the ruler
  • Measure the original length of the spring
  • Gently place the weight in the loop at the bottom of the spring
  • Wait until the spring has stopped moving
...read more.



I think my results are quite accurate and allow firm conclusions to be made. Most of my results are close to the line of best fit. However the apparatus I used was not very accurate; the ruler I used was worn out at the ends so it did not measure exactly from 0, the pin sized pointer kept tilting so sometimes it was not pointing on the correct reading.


I think my results are quite reliable, if the experiment was repeated the same results would be obtained. I repeated my experiment twice to obtain a more accurate result and both sets of results are similar.

Suitability of the Procedure

Repeating my experiment over again and using better apparatus would help me obtain more accurate results. My experiment could also be made to be even more accurate by using different apparatus such as an ultra sonic measuring device.

Further Work

To find out more about how force affects the extension of a spring I could investigate springs in series and in parallel. This is where springs are combined to share a load.

...read more.

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