Points of Emphasis
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.
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 damping magnet
2 ring stand clamps
1 balance/standard mass set
1 driving mechanism
1 string to connect spring to driving mechanism
1 ring stand bar (1" diameter - medium length)
spring constant apparatus consisting of:
1 air supply per 3 tracks
3 ring stand clamps
2 hooked rings
1 hooked mass set ( 2 - 200g, 2 100g, 2 - 50g, 2 - 20g, 2 - 10g)