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spring_mass_lab.pdf

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Section
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FACTORS AFFECTING THE FREQUENCY OF A
SIMPLE HARMONIC OSCILLATOR
OBJECTIVE:
To investigate the dependence of the frequency of oscillation on the following physical
quantities: amplitude, spring constant and mass.
MATERIALS
ONLINE
RESOURCES
Masses and Springs PhET simulation: https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/html/masses-andsprings/latest/masses-and-springs_en.html
PROCEDURE
Frequency and
Amplitude of
Oscillation
1. Open the Masses and Springs PhET simulation. Select LAB.
2. Set the following parameters:
Simulation
Mass
Spring Constant
Mass Equilibrium
Movable Line
Gravity
Damping
Simulation Speed
PAUSED
50 g
“Large”
Enabled
Enabled
Earth
None
Slow
3. Hook the 50-g mass and adjust the position of the movable line tracer 20 cm below
the equilibrium line. This will be the starting position of the 50-g mass.
4. Start the simulation by clicking on the Pause/Play button. Using the built-in stopwatch,
determine the time it takes the 50-g mass to make 10 complete oscillations. Make two
trials.
Ferdinand S. Bautista, Manila Science High School
Name:
Section
Date
5. Adjust the starting position to 40 cm and repeat procedure no. 4. Record your
measurements and calculations in Data Table I.
Data Table 1
Time for 10 complete oscillations
(s)
Trial 1
Trial 2
Ave.
Starting
Position
Frequency
(Hz)
20 cm
40 cm
QUESTIONS:
Frequency and Spring
Constant

What does the starting/initial position of the 50-g mass represent?

What happens to the length of the path travelled by the 50-g mass when the starting
position is increased from 20 cm to 40 cm? What happens to its speed?

Does the starting position of the object affect the frequency of the object-spring
system? Explain.
1. Set the following parameters:
Simulation
Mass
Spring Constant 1
Mass Equilibrium
Movable Line
Gravity
Damping
Simulation Speed
Starting position from equilibrium line
PAUSED
50 g
1 unit from “Small”
Enabled
Enabled
Earth
None
Slow
30 cm
2. Run the simulation by clicking on the Start/Stop button. Determine the frequency of
oscillation of the 50-g mass.
3. Using the same parameters in (1), make several trials, each time, increasing the spring
constant by 2 units from “Small” until the spring constant = 9 units. In each trial, make
sure that the starting position is always kept at 30 cm below the equilibrium line.
Summarize your measurements in Data Table 2.
Data Table 2
Spring constant k
Frequency of Oscillation
1
3
5
Ferdinand S. Bautista, Manila Science High School
Name:
Section
Date
7
9
4. Using a spreadsheet, plot the values of the frequency against the values of the spring
constant. Describe the graph formed.
5. Plot the values of f2 against the values of k. Describe the graph formed.
QUESTIONS:

What happens to the frequency of oscillation of the mass-spring system as the spring
constant increases?

What does the graph of f2 against k suggest about the relationship between the
frequency and the spring constant? Explain
Frequency and Mass
1. Set the following parameters:
Simulation
Mass
Spring Constant 1
Mass Equilibrium
Movable Line
Gravity
Damping
Simulation Speed
Starting position from equilibrium line
PAUSED
50 g
LARGE
Enabled
Enabled
Earth
None
Slow
30 cm
2. Run the simulation. Determine the frequency of oscillation of the 50-g mass.
3. Using the parameters in (1), make several trials, in each time increasing the mass of
the object by 50 g until the mass equals 300 g. For each trial, make sure to set the
starting position from the equilibrium line to 30 cm. Enter your measurements in Data
Table 3
Data Table 3
Mass (g)
Frequency of Oscillation
(Hz)
50
100
150
200
250
300
Ferdinand S. Bautista, Manila Science High School
Name:
Section
Date
4. Plot the values of the frequency against the values of the mass. Describe the graph
formed.
5. Plot the values of f2 against the values of 1/m. What is the shape of the graph?
QUESTIONS:

What happens to the frequency of oscillation as the mass of the oscillator increases?

What does the graph of f2 against 1/m suggest about the relationship between f and
m? Explain.
CONCLUSION(S)
GOING
FURTHER
In the simulation, the mass of the blue and the red weights are not known. Develop a
procedure on how you will determine the masses of these objects.
Ferdinand S. Bautista, Manila Science High School