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Discover what factors effect the rate of a period on a pendulum.

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Laura Hitchinson

Pendulum Coursework

Aim: To discover what factors effect the rate of a period on a pendulum.

Introduction: Pendulums were discovered by Galileo almost 500 years ago. He did an awful lot of research into pendulums. He also discovered that when pendulums are released they almost, but do not completely return to their release height. Pendulums if left swinging for a while start to turn clockwise if you are in the northern hemisphere of the earth but it is not actually the pendulum that is turning the earth is turning but the pendulum is still moving in the same direction as it always was. Most things to do with pendulums are based around gravity as if you put a pendulum on top of Mount Everest because it is so far off of the ground the gravity is not quite as strong so the pendulum will be swinging for longer.


  1. First of all you have to set up your equipment as seen in the diagram below.
  2. Then decide which variable you are going to do first. Length of string/Weight/Angle of release.
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Time taken for one period of the pendulum (secs). 1
























Experiment 2 – Angle of release.

Angle of release from horizontal


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        On the third and final prediction my results proved my prediction right that the longer the pendulum the longer its period would be. This was shown as the time it took for the pendulum to complete one full period rapidly decreased as the length of the string decreased.

        From my results I have worked out that nothing effects the period of a pendulum other than the length of the string as gravity works on it so that when you drop it from a higher release height gravity just pulls it towards the earth much faster and when you change the weight the force of gravity changes because of the change in the size of the pendulum so it would make no difference.

Evaluation: I think that overall my experiment was successful as I managed to complete and work out all my results and they actually showed me something and I now understand what forces effect the period of a pendulum. I think that I could of made many more attempts by varying weights/lengths of string/release heights much more and come up with more conclusive evidence.

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