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Simple pendulum lab. In this experiment, the length of the string will be altered to see the affect on the time period.

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Sagar Sood

IB Physics Yr.1 HL

Block E

Due: May 22, 09

Sagar Sood

IB Physics Yr. 1 HL

Block E

Due: May 22, 09


A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position. When released, the restoring force will cause it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging back and forth. The time for one complete cycle, a left swing and a right swing, is called the period.

In this experiment, the length of the string will be altered to see the affect on the time period. With the collected and calculated values, the value of acceleration due to gravity will be determined as gravity plays a vital role in the motion of the pendulum (and the only force acting).

The bob has to travel more distance in the given time. As the length of the string is being changed, it is the independent variable.

...read more.




11.84 ± 0.09





10.53 ± 0.08





9.15 ± 0.03





8.16 ± 0.22

± 0.001m



The table below shows the values of the calculated data that includes the time period (time for one oscillation) which further gives us the acceleration due to gravity.

Average Time


Time Period


Acceleration due to Gravity (ms-2)



9.14 ± 1



9.17 ± 1



8.64 ± 1



9.22 ± 1



8.99 ± 2



8.42 ± 2



7.70 ± 1



7.34 ± 2



± 1ms-2

Data Processing

Average Time (s) = Trial 1 + Trial 2 + Trial 3


                          = 15.12 + 15.24 + 15.19


                       = 15.18 s

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Self Improvement

In order to avoid the above errors/flaws, a number of precaution steps can be taken. Firstly, the string should never be rounded to the top. After each data point, the string should be removed, measured to the required length using a meter stick and then cut using scissors. This avoids a big error in the experiment. Secondly, it is very important that the stand remains stationary. To do so, extra weight should be put on the bottom but it is also important that this weight is not touching any part of the pendulum.

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