pendulum & simple harmonic motion

A position sensor can be used to study this. The sensor is attached to a weight and spring assembly as shown. This can also be used to study the effects of changing the mass or damping.


What you need
Clamps and stand, spring and masses, interface and position sensor.

Set up the position sensor, spring and masses as shown. Connect the sensor to the interface.
Test the motion of the oscillating weight and check the time taken for it to stop moving – with one or with many weights.
Start your sensing software, if should recognise the sensor. You will need to adjust the position sensor arm to ensure that when it is still, the screen trace is say, halfway up the screen. Start recording to do a test run and make this adjustment.
Set up your software to record for 30s. If you record for much longer, the software will take less readings and you will lose some of the detail in the graph. Start recording as you displace the weight.
Save the graph on disk and overlay another recording on the graph. This time, displace the weight a bit more than before.

Questions

How does the graph describe the movement of the weight?

Teacher question
You can use this exercise to investigate the steadiness of a pendulum. How useful is this exercise for GCSE work?

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