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A mass attached to two springs with different k values

  1. Sep 29, 2011 #1
    Hey. Suppose a mass is attached to two springs, one on each side, and they have different values for k. If you wanted to measure the frequency, how would you add up the k values? Would it work as if they were in series, so 1/k = 1/k1 + 1/k2, or would it just be k = k1 + k2 like in parallel? Or something else?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2011 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    See if you can figure it out. Imagine the mass pushed a distance X from equilibrium. What's the total restoring force from the two springs?
     
  4. Sep 29, 2011 #3
    What I figured was that it would be F = -k1x - k2x, and therefore k = k1 + k2. Is this correct?

    I always over-think these things!
     
  5. Sep 29, 2011 #4

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    You got it. :approve:

    (Now you should figure out how things would be different if the springs were connected together in series.)
     
  6. Sep 29, 2011 #5
    Thanks! I'll give that a go later, haha.
     
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