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Simple Pendulum: A Student’s ConstructionIntroductionBy now, you have become familiar with the concepts of force and energy. The combination ofthese is utilized in a variety of simple physics experiments. One of these is oscillatory motion.Oscillatory motion is defined as a repetitive motion of a mass about an equilibrium point. Youwill study the oscillatory motion of a simple pendulum in this lab. What you will discover is thatthere is an incredibly simple method to determine the gravitational acceleration constant g for aplanet.One type of oscillatory motion of interest is simple harmonic motion (SHM). SHM ismotion in which the restoring force acting on the oscillating mass is proportional to thedisplacement of the mass and the oscillations about equilibrium are relatively small. When themass is displaced from equilibrium and allowed to oscillate about that point (ignoringnonconservational forces such as air-resistance and friction), a force called the restoring forceacts on the mass and restores it to its equilibrium position. However, the mass (our oscillator) haskinetic energy, and thus it will move past equilibrium and the restoring force is now acting on itagain but in the opposite direction. Our system in this lab is the simple pendulum, which consistsof a bob hung on a light string and oscillating with SHM about equilibrium. Note that when themass is at its equilibrium position (hanging directly down), the restoring force is zero.Refer to the figure below. Our mass is connected to a fixed position by a light cord withlength L. The tension in the cord, the mass’ weight, and the restoring force are the only forcesacting on the mass when the mass is not at equilibrium. If theta were small (< 10o), the restoringforce can be expressed as
gGiven several different lengthsL, which will include the length of the string and theradius of the ball hanging from it, you will measure and record the period using a timer andcompare your value to that of equation [2] for eachL.

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Term
Fall
Professor
WOODS

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