The purpose of this lab is to investigate the restoring force exerted by a spring. The goal is to have a conceptual and mathematical understanding of this force and how it behaves in an oscillating system. Students will use spring scales to measure forces exerted by a stretched spring.
Spring force scale (or force probe)
Begin by slowly stretching a spring between both hands. Answer the following questions through class discussion:
Carry out the experimental procedure the class developed, investigating the relationship between the stretch of the spring and the restoring force. Collect and record results in a careful, organized manner. Make sure to collect enough data to perform reliable mathematical analysis.
Graphically analyze your data in order to determine a mathematical interpretation of the data. Record or print out your results.
Write a summary of this investigation. Be sure to describe your experimental procedure and to express what effect spring stretch has on restoring spring force.
1) The diagram below shows a mass attached to a spring undergoing horizontal oscillation about its equilibrium position. The spring in a) is not stretched. The mass is displaced in b) and then released. In c), d), e), f) the mass oscillates. In each picture, draw a vector showing the force that the spring exerts on the mass.
2) Describe the behavior of the force over time in the situation described above. Be sure to discuss the magnitude and the direction of the force.
3) Sketch a graph of the force applied by the spring versus time for two complete oscillations of the mass.