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Pendulum Investigation

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Aim of the investigation

The aim of the pendulum investigation is to see what will happen if I change a variable whilst I swing a pendulum and see the effect which it has on the pendulums time to complete one whole swing (from where it starts, to the opposite end, and back again). This will give me an  insight into what will effect the time of the swinging of the pendulum, be it weight, string length, the angle, or the swinging point.

Planning my investigation

I will set up my investigation by having a 30cm length of string. This will be cut six times as I am measuring six different lengths of string. These will include lengths of: 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 centimeters. To make my results reliable I will test them three times each, at all the lengths, and average them out, to give a more accurate measurement. I think that I can produce reliable, precise results, using this information and plan. I will have enough data to spot “misfit” results too.

Safety Issues

For safety, I will use a pair of safety goggles. This is because whilst the pendulum is swinging, it may hit me in my eyes, as the pendulum is at a similar level of height to my head.

I will also clear all the chairs, coats and bags from the vicinity as they may cause obstruction to me, other people who I work with, or people passing who may be injured.

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I will take into account the string length and the weight of the pendulum. These two factors will be the basis of my prediction. This is because the longer the string, the longer the distance is to complete the full swing of the pendulum. (Illustrated in the diagrams below)

[ Picture of large string length swinging ]image02.png


[ Picture of small string length swinging ]

The weight of the pendulum will also affect the time for the pendulum to complete a full swing. This is because the less the weight, the faster something will move through the air and the heavier it is, the more resistance it creates.

Range of results

My range of results are gathered by using a string of a variable lengths from 5cm – 30cm. The test will be repeated three times to obtain a more accurate reading. I will swing the pendulum from an angle of 90º which I will measure using a protractor. This will give a constant variable of the angle which it is swung from so one time the pendulum is not swung from a higher point or lower point to the others.

In order to record these results accurately, I have recorded the amount of time it takes for ten swings, rather than one swing, as it is easier to count ten swings if each swing is only a half a second long, so I will just divide the total of ten swings by ten to give me the result of one swing. These results are recorded in the table below:

String Length

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

























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I think that my conclusion makes scientific sense, as the longer the string, the longer the pendulum takes to complete a full swing. For example, a 30cm piece of string takes 1.3 seconds on average to complete a whole swing. Another example of a smaller length string is that a 5cm piece takes on average 0.5 seconds to make a complete swing. This proves that the shorter the string, the less time it takes to complete a whole swing. These results make scientific sense.

There are ways of further investigating more factors in which I could test, such as the weight on the end of the pendulum etc. These would give me more information on how different types of factors effect the pendulum’s time to complete one full swing.  It would be interesting to investigate these other factors and see if they have a similar effect. One way that would extend my current investigation on the factor of string length is by doing more tests at different lengths and at different heights. This would gain more data and I could produce a better understanding of how these new results effect the current data, either in a similar way or in a slightly different way to what I have discovered by doing this investigation.

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