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Graphing question with Springs and Energy?

  1. May 7, 2009 #1
    Let's say there's a lab where one hangs weights off a spring, and graphs the length and weight to find the spring constant.

    Graphs have the independent variable--weight in this case--on the x axis, and the dependent variable--length--on the y axis. So, by that method, the graph should be Length vs Weight

    But when I learned about Hooke's law and whatnot, I saw that the graphs were Weight vs Length, because of F = kx

    Which way is the correct convention?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2009 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    I think it would be easier if you plotted F versus x. That way the slope of the line would equal k. But it doesn't really matter. If you plotted x versus F, the equation of the line would be x = (1/k)F, so the slope would equal 1/k.
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