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Investigate the factors which affect the period of one swing (oscillation) of a simple pendulum.

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  • Essay length: 2067 words
  • Submitted: 07/02/2005
  • Reviewed by: (?) jackhli
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GCSE Forces and Motion

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The first 200 words of this essay...

Pendulum

Aim: To investigate the factors which affect the period of one swing (oscillation) of a simple pendulum. The factors I will use are length of the string, and angle that the bob is released from.

Hypothesis:

1. Length of string

I think that the length of the string directly affects the period of one oscillation. The mathematical formula used to describe the period of the pendulum is:

T= 2??V/g

T is the period (time for one swing - seconds)

is the length of the pendulum (metres)

g is the acceleration dues to gravity. (N/KG)

(Length) is in the formula, clearly indicating that it is a factor which will directly affect the period of time.

To see whether the time period will increase or decrease when the length is increased, I will substitute the formula for numbers to see the result.

Length 0.3, g-force = 9.8N/KG

T= 2? V/g

T = 2??V0.3/9.8

T = 1.009s

Length 0.4, g-force = 9.8N/KG

T= 2? V/g

T = 2??V0.4/9.8

T = 1.269s

The calculations above show that when the length of

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Review of essay

Reviewed by: jackhli

Rating: 3 star(s)

Response to the question

This is a good essay that ties experiment and theory together quite well. The student has answered the question of what factors affect the time period of an oscillation well. He has at first looked at his theory to determine that length will likely determine the time period, and he has also used his initiative to think that angle and mass may affect the time period even though the theory says they do not. He has made a prediction based on his theory and on his intuition, however I would of recommended rather than just going on intuition he should of checked his theory to see what the theory predicts would happen in terms of increase in mass and increase in angle.

Level of analysis

The student clearly lays out his method which I would recommend always doing as it is best to know what you are doing before you do it, you don't want to be confused as to what to do when you get to the experiment. He calculates all his errors which is very helpful as it both adds depth to the coursework and helps to stop you from making incorrect conclusions, as you can see if the results could be due to errors. However he works out the error by comparing it to how the theory predicts the result should be, you should not do this. Make sure to calculate errors the regular way. He uses theory to calculate why the speed is not determined by the mass of the bob, which adds a lot of depth. However it could have been done easier by realise that the force is determined by the mass, but so is the acceleration, therefore since F=ma, since F is the mass multiplied by another value, you can put the equation as mk=ma, and the mas cancel. You could go into more depth and determine what determines k.

Quality of writing

The student's grammar and spelling is fine and so is his layout. However he should of made repeats and calculated an average to increase reliability, and he should of made a table for each of his experiments. He could of also plotted a graph to determine how his variables are proportional to each other.

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