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Determining acceleration due to gravity using a spring

  1. Nov 17, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Hey, so this seems like the most relevant place to post this. I'm a first year Physics student and we received the task of finding he acceleration due to gravity at the surface of the earth using a set of eight masses (whose values are unknown, all equal mass though), a stand with scale graduated in cm, a spring with attached holder for mass, and a stop clock. We have to make up the method ourselves and we were told you are allowed to consult friends or look up how to do it on the internet.

    Unfortunately, I can't find any method how to do it, the closest I came was when I found an experiment that showed how to get the gravitational intensity using this apparatus, but that's not what I need and it required known masses for the calculations.

    Could anybody point me in the right direction with a relevant link, or if anyone's int he know could they explain how to do it? Thanks in advance!

    2. Relevant equations
    Possibly g = 4*Pi^2*L/T^2, but I'm not sure how it would be used.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Honestly I'm not too sure, I thought about hanging a mass from the spring, and using applications on the computer I'd calculate its period of motion and its maximum displacement from rest position which I would leave equal L, as I can't think of anything else...
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2014 #2


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    Homework Helper

    hi, welcome to physicsforums :)
    Your idea is interesting. That is the equation for a non-flexible pendulum. So you would have to hope that the spring does not stretch while it is swinging. This might be a fairly good approximation if the amplitude of the swing is small. But there are other ways to do this experiment. Since you are given a bunch of masses, and since the spring is probably not the best pendulum, I think you are meant to do this experiment a different way. What other equations do you know for springs? Think of dynamic and static equations.
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