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Investigating factors which affect the period time of a simple pendulum.

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Physics – Coursework

Investigating factors which affect the period

time of a simple pendulum


Aim: For my GCSE science coursework we are going to investigate which factors affect the period time of a simple pendulum.


We are going to do three different experiments, where:

  • Firstly we will change the weight attached to the string
  • Secondly we will change the angle that we will drop the string from
  • Thirdly we will change the length of string

On the first experiment, in which we change the weight, we will use five different amounts of weight, starting with 100g and going up 100g each time until reaching 500g. For every different amount of weight record the time for 10 swings. We will then do this for the changing of angles, starting at 20° and then going up, 40°, 60°, 80°, and finally 90°. Again recording the time taken for 10 swings. For the third and final experiment where we will change the length of the string, we will start at 5cm going up 5cm each time until reaching 25cm.

When we change the length of string, for example, we must make sure that the weight and angle stay the same every time.

...read more.


Time taken for 10 swings (seconds)

Time taken for 1 swing (seconds)
















Changing angle – length of string 30cm, mass 500g

Angle (°)

Time taken for 10 swings (seconds)

Time taken for 1 swing (seconds)
















Changing length of string – mass 500g, angle 45°

Length of string (cm)

√ℓ (cm)

...read more.


Factors, which may have affected the accuracy of my results, include:

  • Error in measurement of angle. This proved difficult to measure as the protractor attached to the clamp was not fixed in place correctly and may have give inaccurate results
  • Error in measurement of string. To improve the accuracy of this I could have off the points off the points with a pen to make sure they were as accurately measured as possible.
  • Human reaction time. Depending on human reaction time, the measurement of the period time could have been measured inaccurately, when setting the stopwatch.
  • Recording of more swings. I could have recorded more swings of the pendulum as it would have been much more accurate and give more results

This procedure is relatively reliable, not including human error, and so I can strongly conclude from these results that, the only factor, which affects the period of a simple pendulum, is its length. As the length increases, so does the period.

...read more.

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