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Investigating how the Length of a Pendulum affects its Period

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Investigating how the Length of a Pendulum affects its Period


Before this experiment I did some preliminary experiments here I tested whether the angle and height at which a pendulum is dropped from affects its period and whether the weight of the pendulum bob affects its period. I found that in both cases, no matter how big or small, these factors did not affect the pendulums period. My results are at the bottom of the page.

But you can see from my results in the table, that it does not matter what the weight is, or as a matter of fact the angle at which the pendulum starts, the period stays the same.

In my experiment there are variables that I must keep the same. For example there is the weight of the pendulum bob. I have decided to use a medium sized bob, which when was weighed it was 39.9g. Even though my results showed that it did not matter what the weight was I will try to pick and use the same bob through out the experiment. Next I must make sure that I do not push the metal bob when the first period starts as then it would give it extra energy that would not make a fair test. The force of gravity will stay the same on earth whenever I do the experiment and so this does not need to be worried about.

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  • Stand
  • Arm clamp
  • Cork
  • Lead bob with string
  • Metre rule
  • Stop watch
  • Paper
  • Scales
  • G clamp

The stand will be placed on the table and secured with a G-clamp, as it is a safety hazard. Then I will thread the string and bob through the cork and then clamp the cork in position. I will measure the correct length of string with the wooden rule. The string will be checked and the bob will be released. Then it will swing for a few periods so I can get used to the speed and timing and then I will start the stopwatch. After 10 periods I will then stop the stopwatch and record the result.

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To improve my experiment and to make it have a lot higher accuracy I could have used light gates so I know when the pendulum has completed one period. However I would still have the inaccuracy of stopping and starting the stopwatch and could only measure one period as the pendulum does not always reach the same height, gradually it decreases. My graphs show that seven points are enough to draw an accurate line of best fit, the problem with more points is that there are more points that could be wrong, and so I have concluded that I had just the right amount of points on my graph. I could have taken a larger range of lengths however, by going up to 150cm long, and by doing this I could have proven whether eventually the relationship between period and length eventually levelled of or got very close to doing so. This could not have been done for this experiment, as there was a maximum length you could use until the experiment became too big and unsafe. To be sure that where I started from the same place I could have used a protractor to start at the same angle every time. But as my previous experiment showed there would be little point in doing this.


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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This is a good attempt at a report that covers the basics needed:
1. The structure is adequate but could be improved by the addition of more subheadings.
2. The results tables are well presented.
3. Reports should not have a running commentary written into them.
4. The explanation given in the conclusion is well researched.
5. The evaluation contains some good suggestions.
6. The report is missing an introduction, aim and hypothesis.
*** (3 stars)

Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 05/07/2013

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