Advanced PlacementCollegeHigh School / Physics

Exploring Physical Pendulums

Students use a meter stick as a physical pendulum and explore the factors that affect the period and the mathematical properties of the physical pendulum period equation.

Students use a meter stick as a physical pendulum and explore the factors that affect the period and the mathematical properties of the physical pendulum periodequation. Using a photogate, they discover that the amplitude changes the period but that small amplitudes have little effect. They measure the period and calculate the rotational inertia for different rotation axis locations. Using this data, they discover the parallel axis theorem. They include the parallel axis theorem in the period equation and solve for the x value that results in a 1.62 s period. They discover there are 2 solutions so there must be an x that results in a minimum period. Students that have had calculus are asked to find the value of x that results in the minimum period. Students without calculus graph period versus x to find the minimum.

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Exploring_Physical_Pendulums_S.docx 134.53 KB
Exploring_Physical_Pendulums_S.pdf 318.17 KB

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Featured Equipment

Meter Stick Torque Mass Hanger Set

Meter Stick Torque Mass Hanger Set

Replacement set of three mass hangers and one meter stick clamp for doing meter stick torque.

Pivot

Pivot

This Pivot is used as a fulcrum in meter stick torque and as a rotation device for rotational inertia experiments.

Meter Stick Torque Set

Meter Stick Torque Set

For torque experiments with a meter stick balance

Aluminum Meter Sticks (6-pack)

These hollow aluminum meter sticks are rigid and straight.

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