Topics
Points of Emphasis
Prerequisites
Lab Activities
Students study the motion of a simple pendulum, a physical pendulum and a
torsional pendulum and compare the observed motion with the simple harmonic
motion predicted by theory for small oscillations of these systems.
The specific theoretical relationships investigated are:
a. for a simple pendulum
T^2 = 4*pi^2*l/g
where T is the period of oscillation, l is the length of the pendulum and g is
the acceleration of gravity;
b. for a physical pendulum
T^2 = ((4*pi^2)/g) * ((I + ml^2)/ml)
where I is the moment of inertia, m is the mass of the pendulum and l is the
distance from the pivot point to the center of mass;
c. for a torsional pendulum
T^2 = (4*pi^2)*(I/k)
where k is a constant.
Students are required to best determine how to present their data so as to
confirm the theoretical expressions stated above. Standard methods of data
analysis are emphasized. Quantitative results tend to be within 2% of the
accepted values.
Course Level
Introductory: P3, P13, P15
Student Handouts
Equipment
Number of setups available: 5
Per lab station:
Simple pendula setup:
1 cclamp
1 large bar (1" diameter  1 meter in length)
1 medium bar (0.5' diamter  0.5 meter in length)
1 ring stand clamp
1 ball of string
1 pair of scissors
1 200 gm, 100 gm, and 50 gm hooked masses
1 stopwatch
1 meter stick
Physical pendula setup:
1 ring stand
1 ring stand clamp
1 physical pendulum
1 short bar with knife edge
1 balance/standard mass set
1 stopwatch
1 meter stick
1 vernier caliper
1 center of mass pan/string
Torsional pendula setup:
1 ring stand
1 ring stand clamp
1 torsional pendulum
1 short bar with knife edge
1 balance/standard mass set
1 stopwatch
1 meter stick
1 vernier caliper
1 center of mass pan/string
2 large cylindrial masses
2 smaller cylindrial masses

Simple Pendulum Setup
Physical Pendulum Setup
Torsional Pendulum Setup

Notes

