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How do I measure a the period of a bifilar pendulum?

  1. Sep 11, 2015 #1
    I have a formal lab due, and my idea is to use a bifilar pendulum, model its period using experimental data, and examine the effect of the length of the strings on the amplitude of the period.

    For anyone unfamiliar with it, here is a picture of the pendulum. This is how I plan on setting up my experiment:

    My control variables will be the distance between the strings and the angle the rod is turned to begin the oscillation. I plan on shining a laser at the end of the rod, which will reflect the light back at different angles. If I can measure the amount of time it takes to cross a distance, I can plot a time vs displacement/degrees from equilibrium position. But I'm not sure how I can accurately measure the time. I don't have the budget for expensive gadgets. Is there any way to do this?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 11, 2015 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If you just want the period, then you dont need to know detail of the entire motion.
    You can use a stopwatch... time for, say, 10 oscillations and divide.
    Need more accuracy, then time for more oscillations.

    The gadget approach would use a photogate.
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