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 Suggested Teaching Activities

Simple Harmonic Motion

1. Background

Simple Harmonic Motion is a form of periodic motion in which a point of body oscillates along a line about a central point in such a way that it ranges an equal distance on either side of the central point is always proportional to its distance from it. One way of visualising SHM is to imagine a point rotating around a circle of radius r at a constant angular velocity w. If the distance from the centre of the circle to the projection of this point on a vertical diametre is y at time t, this projection of the point will move about the centre of the circle with Simple Harmonic Motion. A graph of y against t will be a sine wave, whose equation is y = rsinwt.

We will use the mass-spring system to illustrate the concept of Simple Harmonic Motion in this experiment. During SHM, the mass moves upwards and downwards, changing the length of the spring. Three forms of energy are involved in this motion - gravitational potential, translation kinetic and elastic potential. In this lab, you will examine the relationships between these three quantities throughout a single cycle of motion and test the conservation of mechanical energy.

2. Objective

 To study the characteristics of Simple Harmonic Motion. To investigate the motion of a mass-spring system. To test the conservation of mechanical energy in Simple Harmonic Motion.

3. Equipment List

 Datalogger interface connected to a PC Motion sensor Masses and mass hanger Base and support rod with clamp Spring

 Experiment Collision and Conservation of Momentum Simple Harmonic Motion Acceleration due to Gravity Pushing and Pulling a Dynamics Cart Acceleration of a Dynamics Cart

 2003 | Important Notices