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Spacer In this lab, the students use an air track to study a damped, driven harmonic oscillator. Specifically, the students are asked to:

1. Determine the natural frequency of the undamped oscillator.

2. Determine what effect the damping force has on the value of this natural frequency, and what effect it has on the motion in general.

3. Explore the behavior of a damped, driven oscillator.

4. Compare the results of your quanitative measurements with theoretical predictions about the behavior of this system.

Course Level


Student Handouts


Number of set-ups available: 1

Per lab station:

1 airtrack/connecting hose and wooden dust cover
1 air cart/1 aluminum sail
2 5 cm springs
1 stopwatch
1 damping magnet
1 ringstand/bar
2 ring stand clamps
1 balance/standard mass set
1 driving mechanism
1 string to connect spring to driving mechanism
1 C-clamp 1 ring stand bar (1" diameter - medium length)

Per class:

spring constant apparatus consisting of:
2 metersticks
1 C-Clamp
4 bars
3 ring stand clamps
2 hooked rings
1 air supply per 3 tracks
1 hooked mass set ( 2 - 200g, 2 100g, 2 - 50g, 2 - 20g, 2 - 10g)



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