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An Investigation into the factors affecting the time period of a simple pendulum

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Introduction

An Investigation into the factors affecting the time period of a simple pendulum

Prediction

I decided to measure the time needed for the pendulum to swing fifty times.  One swing is the time taken for the mass to get all the way back to the start.  I chose 50 swings because this would allow enough time to make accurate measurements.

The larger the mass, the more force should be needed to create the initial velocity.  This means that it should take longer to achieve 50 swings.

The larger the angle at which the pendulum starts, the longer it should take to complete 50 swings.  This is because it will have further to travel.

The longer the string, the smaller the restoring force will be that is acting upon the pendulum.  This should result in a longer completion time.

Equipment

Clamp stand, string, weights, stop clock, protractor, 2 blocks of wood held together by the clamp (used wooden ruler), fidutial point (piece of paper with line set at approximately the centre of the expected swing), ruler

Method

  1. Set up the apparatus as shown in the diagram below:
  1. Pull the pendulum back to the correct, measured angle and release.
...read more.

Middle

102

101

101

101.33

10

100

101

102

101.00

15

102

102

102

102.00

20

102

102

103

102.33

25

103

102

102

102.33

30

103

103

104

103.33

35

104

103

102

103.00

40

101

103

102

102.00

Length of string

Length (mm)

Time taken for 50 swings

Average time taken for 50 swings

...read more.

Conclusion

2=u2+2as should have been able to predict the time it takes for the pendulum to swing.  This was not the case and this proves that the pendulum’s acceleration was not uniform.  This means that another set of formulae would be need to predict the time it takes for the pendulum to swing.

To improve the experiment I could use more accurate ways of reading the results.  First, I could use a protractor, attached to the apparatus which would enable me to measure the angle of the pendulum more effectively.  I could also use a laser centred across the fidutial point.  This beam would be broken whenever the string passed over the point and a computer would be able to accurately count the number of times this has happened.  The computer would also be able to time the swings more accurately as it would stop the timer when the string broke the beam for the final time.

To extend the experiment, I could use more lengths, weights and starting angles.  This would give me much more accurate results.  I could also try to cut out the air resistance acting upon the pendulum by performing the experiments in a vacuum.

8

...read more.

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