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Damped Driven Harmonic Motion

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Spacer The physical system in this lab consists of a spring hanging vertically with a hooked mass suspended from its lower end. The up end is attached via a spring to a variable speed rotating disk. Damping for the system is provided by cardboard sails which can be attached to the top of the spring with the plane of the cardboard perpendicular to the vertical motion of the spring/mass system.

Spacer The objectives of the lab are:

  1. To understand the connection between angular velocity and angular frequency.

  2. To determine the natural oscillating frequency of the undamped oscillator.

  3. To determine what effect a damping force has on the value of this natural frequency and what effect it has on the motion in general.

  4. To determine the decay constant and Q-factor of the oscillator through direct measurement as well as through theoretical prediction.

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Student Handouts


Number of set-ups available: 10

Per lab station:

1 variable speed motor mounted on a circular platform
2 long metal bars
2 medium metal bars
1 small bar
2 large C-clamps
5 small clamps
1 small hooked collar
1 meterstick with a ring stand mounting
1 single pulley mounted on a metal bar
1 ball of string
1 stopwatch
1 6" X 6" piece of poster board with a small hole in the center
1 3" X 3" piece of poster board with a small hole in the center
1 pair of scissors
1 plastic tray to hold small pieces of equipment
2 springs matched in diameter and length
1 spring with same diameter as other springs but a different length
1 100 g hooked mass
1 50 g hooked mass
1 20 g hooked mass
1 10 g hooked mass



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