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Homework Help: MCAT physics problem please help

  1. Jul 8, 2011 #1
    Two springs with equal masses attached but with different spring constants (k) oscillate with the same amplitude. The spring with the larger spring constant (k) has:

    a. a higher maximum velocity
    b. a larger maximum displacement
    c. a lower total energy
    d. a lower frequency of oscillation
    e. a longer period of oscillation

    I'm pretty certain that it is not C, D, E based on the equations for both period and frequency and the formula for Potential Energy = 1/2 kx^2

    I think it is between A and B. Please help :) thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    Is there a difference between "displacement" and "amplitude"?
  4. Jul 8, 2011 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    What's another name for maximum displacement? Does the term appear in the question statement?
  5. Jul 8, 2011 #4
    I am unsure if there is a difference.. :( There is no further clarification.

    I have a feeling that it could be A based on the fact that, the larger the spring constant (k), the larger the frequency --> f = (1/2pi)(sqrt k/m)

    If you plug in a large frequency into the equation velocity = frequency x wavelength, you get a higher velocity. However, the thing is, you can only change the velocity of a wave by changing the medium that the wave propagates through. Since we are using 2 different springs, with 2 different spring constants, does this mean we have different mediums? Because that would make A the answer I believe.

    THANK YOU FOR THE WARM WELCOME...this message board is awesome!
  6. Jul 8, 2011 #5
    oh and, I know that amplitude has NO EFFECT on period if that helps?
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