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Investigating the time period of a pendulum

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Investigating the time period of a pendulum


  1. String
  2. Ruler
  3. Weight
  4. Clamp
  5. Desk
  6. Time (preferably a stop clock)

The time period of a pendulum is the time taken for the pendulum to swing from one point to another point, for instance

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This experiment calls for me to record this time period, however I feel it is too short, so I will time 20 time periods for accuracy. I will then take this number and divide it by 20 to give one accurate time period.

When doing this experiment I will need to think of two independent variables:

  1. The mass of the pendulum
  2. The length of the string that attaches the pendulum to the clamp.

Through my own preliminary experiment I will change the length ten times, varying from 1m 3cm – 13 cm at approximately 10cm intervals. For this experiment I will keep the mass the same, the original mass of the pendulum, 34.87g. For my preliminary experiment when I change the mass, I will change the mass ten times varying from 74.52 grams to 26.5g.

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In our final experiment we will use 11 lengths from 110cm to 10 cm, using intervals of 10 cm. I will use a constant mass as the pendulum, and the displacement length will be 10 degrees. I chose these values because the lengths are spread out, to create a fair test. I will time 20 time periods to make it a fair test.

To help make it even fairer, I will repeat the experiment three times and take an average of the results.

For the prediction table, but not graph, it is helpful to note that as the equation works only in metres, the values, which would be in centimetres in my experiment, have been changed to metres.

Prediction table:

Length (m)   Gravity (N/kg)     Time period (seconds to 2 d.p.)
1. 1.10           9.81                      0.71
2. 1.00           9.81                      0.64
3. 0.9             9.81                   0.58
4. 0.8                 9.81                       0.51        
5. 0.7                 9.81                       0.45
6. 0.6                 9.81                       0.38
7. 0.5                 9.81                       0.32
8. 0.4                 9.81                       0.26
9. 0.3                 9.81                       0.19
10. 0.2                 9.81                       0.13
11. 0.1                 9.81                       0.06                      

Dina Rickman – Physics Plan

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