David Thibodeaux
PHYS 111A – H03
Lab 125
11/5/2010
Objective: To verify the conservation of mechanical energy in an oscillating massspring
system.
Theory: Before conducting the experiment, we should discuss the spring system:
The total mechanical energy of the spring mass system is:
ME = ½mv2 + ½k(x
o
x)
2
+ mgx
In this equation, the first term is kinetic energy, the second term is the potential energy of
the spring and the last term is the gravitational potential energy. (m is the mass of weight
hanger in kg and k is the spring constant in N/m, xo is the distance the spring is stretched
when it is in the equilibrium position measured in meters.)
x is measured from the equilibrium position and x > 0 when the mass is above the
equilibrium point, x = 0 when the spring is in the equilibrium position and x < 0 when the
mass is below the equilibrium point. Note that when x = + xo
both potential energy
terms are 0. If the spring has a mass of m hanging on it, the elongation, xo, will be mg/k.
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 Spring '11
 Gokce
 Energy, Kinetic Energy, Potential Energy, weight hanger

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