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Physics Pendulum Experiment

Extracts from this document...


                                                     Kasim Hassan

Physics Coursework

In this investigation, I am going to find the time taken for a basic pendulum to perform a full oscillation (to and fro).

Oscillation is the regular movement of a mass back and forth; from one direction to another e.g. a simple pendulum swinging back and forth. A pendulum is a weight on the end of a rigid rod, which, when given some initial lift from the vertical position, will swing back and forth under the influence of gravity over its central (lowest) point. A torsion pendulum consists of a body suspended by a fine wire or elastic fibre in such a way that it executes rotational oscillations as the suspending wire or fibre twists and untwists.

The aim of this experiment is to find one of the factors affecting the mass of oscillation on a wire. We will be keeping the length of wire the same throughout the entire experiment, but we will change the mass of the wire.

The pendulum will be string, with a weight hanging on the end.

The factor that will affect the time taken for one full oscillation is the mass of the weight.

Oscillation is the regular movement of a mass back and forth; from one direction to another e.g. a simple pendulum swinging back and forth.

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My prediction is that the more weight that is added to the bottom of the spring, the more energy is stored, and therefore will create larger oscillations. This is because according to my theory, the heavier the mass put on the spring, the larger the extension will be. So, if this is correct, there will be more energy, therefore resulting in larger oscillations.


In my opinion, the experiment went fairly well. I managed to obtain a full set of results, which were mostly accurate, and which I managed to make good use of. I was initially surprised at how easy the experiment went, and how I managed to almost instantly obtain accurate results.

This investigation has been successful because I have completed my aim and showed this by producing a graph with time against mass.

Although the majority of results were within range, I believe I could have made the experiment even more successful. This is due to the few outliers there were.

I could have possibly narrowed the gaps between the masses, by using 50g masses instead of 100g, in order to obtain a larger set of results.

The second way I could have improved my experiment, is to increase the number of readings taken to possibly 7 or 10.

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  • Ensure the spring is not loaded beyond the elastic limit.


After analysing my results, I have come to the conclusion that the longer the weight of the mass, the longer per 5 oscillations.

I immediately noticed from my graph and table of results, that as the mass became heavier, the time per oscillations increased, thus suggesting my prediction is correct.

This therefore shows there is a strong correlation between weight of the mass, and the time per 5 oscillations.

In order to complete my graph of curve of best fit, I divided the average time by 10.

Then in order to calculate the line of best fit, I squared the results in the curve of best fit.

After looking at my graphs, I can see there are a few anomalies, particularly on the graph with the curve of best fit. Other then this, I believe my results are fairly accurate, thus suggesting my experiment, on a whole was done well.

Due to the lack of major spread in my data, I do not feel the need to include error bars in my graph.

I believe the results on the graph with the line of best fit, were particularly well. There is only one slight anomaly at 300g, meaning that the results are not fully perfect. This is not hugely significant however; as the straight line is in line with 0g meaning the experiment was fairly successful.


                   KASIM HASSAN


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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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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This is a good attempt at a report, although the structure is not correct.
1. The method section is well written.
2. The evaluation shows a good level of detail.
3. The table of results shows a lot of data.
4. The beginning section needs to be divided up using subheadings.
5. The conclusion does not attempt to explain the pattern in the results.
6. The report itself needs to be restructured.
*** (3 stars)

Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 29/05/2013

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