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Pendulum Practical Investigation

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Introduction

Practical Investigation: The simple Pendulum Aim: To investigate the factors which affect the period of oscillation of a simple pendulum? Hypothesis: Increasing the length or amplitude of the pendulum will increase the period of oscillation. Equipment: - stand and clamp - pendulum bob - stopwatch - metre ruler - nylon string Background: The period of a pendulum is the time for one complete swing. The equation for the period of a pendulum is T = 2? ? L/g T = period of oscillation (in seconds) 2? = constant L = length of pendulum (in centimetres) G = acceleration due to gravity (m.s-^2) W = weight Method: 1. Determine the effect on the period of the pendulum when the amplitude is altered and the mass and the length of string are kept constant. Measure the time for 20 complete swings when the bob is given an amplitude of 4 cm, 6 cm, 8 cm, and 10 cm respectively. Enter your results into table B. ...read more.

Middle

against length (L) and period against the square root of L. What do these graphs indicate about the relationship between period and length? Working out 2. What other factors (not investigated in this practical) may influence the period of a pendulum? - The reaction time of the person working the stopwatch - The technique used to determine the amplitude of the pendulum - Wind produced by the fans 3. What are the main sources of error in this practical? - The reaction time of the person working the stopwatch (Human error) - The technique used to determine the amplitude of the pendulum (Systematic error) - Wind produced by the fans (Random error) 4. How could you improve the accuracy of your results? The accuracy of the results of this experiment could be improved by ensuring that the same person controls the stopwatch at all times, so that the reaction time is always the same. Also, if there were some other means of investigating the oscillation of the pendulum, such as more accurate measuring by use of lasers, the experimental results could definitely be more accurate than is possible with human interpretation. ...read more.

Conclusion

If a machine that could calculate one correct oscillation of the pendulum using more complex and accurate technology was used for this experiment, human error could be greatly reduced and would give more accuracy to the end result. Determining the amplitude of the pendulum and the method used could have also played the part of systematic error. The amplitude of the pendulum can affect the time to complete one oscillation. To ensure more accuracy in future experiments, a protractor could be used so the pendulum would be aligned to the exact amplitude. Random errors such as wind produced by the fans may also have affected the results. Making sure all variables in the environment are stable by closing windows and switching off fans, will also reduce the uncertainty of the experiment. These sources of error all affect the amplitude of the string, the length of the string, the oscillation and, overall, the end result. If more accurate measures of determining the desired information were used, more accuracy could be accounted for and the result would benefit. ...read more.

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