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Activity 2: Measuring Spring Constant

Pick a spring out of the spring box, and measure it's spring constant. One way to do this is to hang vertical weights, and measure the displacement. Do this, and make a table such as the one below. After your first measurement, do a quick calculation of the spring constant. If the spring constant is greater than 10 N/m, choose a less stiff spring out of the box.

An easy way to do these measurements is to measure the distance from the tabletop to the bottom of your spring. Then you can make measurements of displacement (with different masses) from the tabletop. The difference between these measurements is the distance the spring has stretched.




Mass Initial distance Measured displacement Force Displacement
  from tabletop from tabletop (W=mg) from
  to bottom of spring ( ) ( ) equilibrium
  ( )     ( )
0     0 0
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      
  "      

Discuss 2 other methods that could be used to measure the spring constant:

Method 1:





Method 2:





Make a plot of Force vs. Displacement, and put it here. Make sure the Displacement is on the x-axis.


next up previous
Next: Questions/Other Activities Up: shm Previous: Activity 1: Oscillating Systems
Anthony Tovar 2004-02-05