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investigating pendulum

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                                                                                                                                                Rohan Passi

January 15, 2008

Investigating Pendulum

Aim : I am trying to investigate whether the length of the pendulum has an effect on its speed by measuring the time taken for the pendulum to swing 10  swings keeping the same weight, same starting angle and same number of swings.

Introduction : I intend to investigate the effect on pendulum when its length is changed even though its process only involves swinging from position A to position B from a fixed point. The picture below shows that this pendulum is stationary and  has a has no resultant force because there are two forces acting on the pendulum string. Gravity tries to pull the weight downwards but this is stopped by the tension in the string. The forces can only be balanced when they are in opposite directions. This only occurs when the pendulum is in the middle of its swing and for the rest of the time the two forces are unbalanced. image20.png

                                            The two forces are equal and opposite.
                                           This means there is no resultant force on the weight.
                                            It could either be stationary, or passing through the                                                                                s                                           middle of the swing.    


                                          The two forces are not in opposite directions. This                                               d                                        means there is a resultant force is to the right.

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Figure1                                                                                        Figure 2

  1. Set up the apparatus like this as shown  in the figure 1
  2. Cut out a length and tie it to the clamp.
  3. Measure the total length using a string and then placing it on the ruler to know the measurement.
  4.  Place the protractor’s centre at the knot of the string on the clamp as shown in figure 2  so that the pendulum is measured in the correct angle.
  5. Pull the pendulum to a degree of 30 with one hand and set the stopwatch in the other hand.
  6. Let go of the pendulum and start the stopwatch
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One limitation is that the time was not measured correctly as it was firstly difficult to handle the stopwatch in one hand and leaving the pendulum from the other hand. It was very confusing by which almost the first 10 minutes were wasted doing this. I would like to do this experiment again and would also like to improve the errors made by repeating the experiment again and again so that I get a better range of results compared to just doing it once.

Even though my results are not very reliable I am still satisfied with it as it is matching my hypothesis and I have also conducted the experiment 3 times to know a better result and also to satisfy that the results are estimated correctly.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

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