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To find out how different masses affect the period of one oscillation of a spring.

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AIM: To find out how different masses affect the period of one oscillation of a spring.



A spring is elastic, therefore has elastic properties and this is why it oscillates. The spring can harness elastic energy in its coils as it is pulled down. When masses are hung from the spring, it gains gravitational potential energy that causes a resultant force and the spring as a result is pulled down. It also gains some kinetic energy along with the elastic energy. Then, the forces balance out and there is no movement. At this point energy is converted to elastic and the spring pulls back up again. As it goes up, the shape restores and gains gravitational potential energy again. At the top, the forces balance, then is converted back into gravitational potential energy, and again, a resultant force is created that pulls the spring down.

In this experiment, what I am planning to do is to find out how different masses affect the period of one oscillation of a spring.

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The length that the spring is pulled down to doesn’t affect the experiment. So it doesn’t matter for how long I pull the spring down. I know this as I tested this in the preliminary experiment that I did. I proved that the amplitude doesn’t affect the period.


Amplitude cm


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Springs are used in spring balances for weighing and for the storage of mechanical energy, as in watch and clock springs or door-closing springs. Springs are also used to absorb impact and to reduce vibration, as in coil or leaf springs used for motor car suspensions. The specific form of a spring depends on its use. In a spring balance, for example, it is normally wound as a helix, and its elongation is proportional to the applied force, so that the spring can be calibrated to measure this force.

I predict that as the mass increases the time taken to complete one oscillation will also increase. The more mass, the more gravitational potential energy it will have, so the further it will be pulled down, so therefore the period should be bigger because the spring pulls down to a further distance. I also predict that the time of one oscillation will be somehow related to the amount of mass applied to the spring and springs elastic constant. I did some research and found out that it is claimed in nearly every textbook that the period may be found from the relation:



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