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Finding the Spring Constant of a Copper Spring Using a Potential Divider

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Introduction

Finding the Spring Constant of a Copper Spring Using a Potential Divider 1.0 Aim To undertake an experiment to assess the behaviour of a potential divider as a sensor. 2.0 Objectives * Build and test a sensor. * Explore the characteristics of the sensor. * Calibrate the sensor. 3.0 Introduction The system, which I am using to find the constant of a spring, could be used for quality control in industries where springs are made. Potential dividers are used in strain gauges in buildings to calibrate subsides. The potential divider in the circuit is going to be used as a position sensor. A potential divider is simply two resistors, across which a voltage is applied, with the output being taken from the junction of the resistors. If a single variable resistor is used for R1 and R2, then the output voltage can be varied, and this is the basis of the volume control. 4.0 Method A potential divider will be placed in the middle of a 25cm long ruler at 12.5cm. ...read more.

Middle

* Cross sectional area - if the thickness of the wire changes then the resistance would change. The thicker the wire the less resistance there will be. This is another variable that will remain constant. * Type of metal - throughout the experiment I will use copper wires. If I used different types of wires then the results wouldn't be reliable as different types of wires let through different currents at different rates. * Temperature - the higher the temperature, less number of electrons passing through the wire. 5.0 Results Here are the sets of results that I recorded from my two experiments. They show the voltage changing through the potential divider at different forces. Test 1 Force (N) Voltage (V) 0 0.92 1 0.82 2 0.76 3 0.69 4 0.59 5 0.52 6 0.46 7 0.35 8 0.31 9 0.26 10 0.17 Test 2 Force (N) Voltage (V) 0 0.95 1 0.84 2 0.78 3 0.69 4 0.58 5 0.49 6 0.41 7 0.38 8 0.32 9 0.27 10 0.20 Now I have got all the information that I need I will now construct a graph of force against voltage. ...read more.

Conclusion

I would be able to look at the voltage on the graph and look across to the line and see what weight the object was. 8.0 Evaluation From the material I was able to use to make the sensor, I made full use of the apparatus to make a rather accurate device. A built in spirit leveller would make my device more accurate, but I was able to use the sources that I was supplied with. The experiment went well and didn't take me too long to complete it as I knew exactly what I was going to do before hand. I don't think that I should add anymore than 10 weights if I did the experiment again as the spring would snap. Next time I will have to think of a better system to calibrate the sensor to get an even straighter line on my graph. By doing this the marker on the potential divider will be closer to 90�. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachael Barlow Physics Coursework 30/04/07 1 ...read more.

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