ERROR ANALYSIS AND SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTION
The object of this experiment is to study error calculation methods using a simple system, unfamiliar to the
student, so that a basic comparison between expected and measured values can be made without a deep
understanding of the theory.
The spring constant is calculated in two ways and the students verify the
theory by finding if the error ranges of the measurements overlap.
Spiral spring and rigid support, weight holder and weights, platform balance, datastudio program, motion
sensor, interface box.
Elasticity is that property of a body which causes it to return to its original shape and size after being
distorted by a force.
According to Hooke’s Law, when an elastic body, such as a spiral spring, is subjected
to a force which elongates it, the elongation, x, is proportional to the force, F, provided the elastic limit is
This proportionality is expressed by the equation,
where k, the constant of proportionality, is called the force constant of the spring.
The value of k depends
upon the shape and size of the spring and upon the elastic properties of the material of the spring.
It is also true that a mass, M, suspended from the lower end of a spring (Fig. 1) – will vibrate with
harmonic motion if it is displaced a
(less than 3 cm for this lab) and then released.
mass of spring is negligible in comparison with the suspended mass, the period of vibration, T, is given by