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Mass-spring oscillations

Mass-spring oscillations


The experiment is designed to provide information on the behavior of a body hanging from a spring.
The idea is to investigate simple harmonic oscillatory motion, observing how position, velocity and acceleration develop in time, how potential energy (elastic or gravitational) may be transformed into kinetic energy, or vice versa. Last but not least this investigation can offer the opportunity for using a Real Time data acquisition with a motion detector (SONAR).

You will be guided to perform a basic experiment on the oscillations of a body hanging from a spring and to analyze the experimental data. This will provide you with the basic facts and concepts about the phenomenon.
More experiments can be performed in order to investigate how the oscillation frequency is affected by the choice of the various system components:
- the type of spring (Hooke’s law)
- the mass of the body
- the volume of the body
- the arrangement of a set of springs (series or parallel)

A deeper understanding of harmonic motion can be gained by comparing the behaviour of the mass-spring system with that of other oscillating systems:
- the Pendulum
- the Wilberforce pendulum
- the bouncing ball Ball bounce
- the Maxwell wheel
- the Atwood oscillator
- the See-saw

Some of them are also illustrated in the LEPLA materials or you can find references in the Teacher’s guide.

[ Theoretical model  |  Apparatus setup  |   Data acquisition  |   Data sample  |   Data analysis (TI)  |  PDF version of the module  |  Evaluation form  |  Back to Activities  ]

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