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B Distorting force vs restoring force in springs??

  1. Mar 16, 2016 #1
    Awhile back, I was learning about springs, and restoring/distorting force. We even did an experiment where we hung a spring and put weights on it and pulling it down, watching it oscillate.
    From this, I assumed the distorting force was the force that stretched the spring and restoring force is the force that restores the spring to equilibrium. I remember someone mentioning that the distorting force and restoring force are equal, however I can't quite understand why they would be equal unless the spring is not stretched. Here's my idea: If the spring is stretching, the distorting force>restoring force and when the spring is returning to its equilibrium position distorting force<restoring force and finally when the spring is not moving .<<----Are these assumptions correct??

    My other question is why does the restoring force = spring constant of the spring?? What role does the spring constant have in restoring the spring back to equilibrium? Is the restoring force an actual force acting on the spring?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2016 #2
    First of all distorting force is not equal to restoring force
    When we calculate the potential energy of the spring at any point we try to maintain that force applied by the spring and the force applied by external agent(distorting force) must be equal so that there is no acceleration. We first apply a greater force just bigger than the restoring force and then we apply equal force as the restoring force for calculating the potential of spring at any point. Otherwise you are correct that the distorting force is greater than the restoring force. And when spring goes to mean position the restoring force is greater than the distorting force.

    Now spring constant is not equal to the restoring force its just a constant which tells more the value of spring constant (k) more will be difficult to pull it from its equilibrium position.
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