Newton's Cradle, Simple Harmonic Motion

In summary, Newton's Cradle works by demonstrating the principle of conservation of energy and momentum. Simple Harmonic Motion is a type of periodic motion where the restoring force is directly proportional to the displacement from the equilibrium position. The motion of Newton's Cradle is affected by factors such as the mass of the balls, the elasticity of the strings, and the angle at which the balls are released. The number of balls does not affect the period of the motion, which is determined by the length of the strings and the gravitational force. Simple Harmonic Motion has real-life applications in natural phenomena and various devices.
  • #1
godtripp
54
0
Is it possible to see Newton's cradle in simple harmonic motion?

Im thinking that the period is the same as a simple pendulum, if not how would I calculate this?
 
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  • #2
It is simple harmonic motion as long as you pretend that the five spheres are point masses. The velocity of the center of mass does not change through the multiple collisions, so you can view this as a single oscillating mass. Since the period of a simple pendulum is independent of the mass, then it is given by an equation that looks like ...
 
  • #3


Yes, it is possible to see Newton's Cradle in simple harmonic motion. In fact, the motion of the balls in Newton's Cradle can be described by the same principles as a simple pendulum. The period of the motion can be calculated using the formula T=2π√(l/g), where T is the period, l is the length of the pendulum and g is the acceleration due to gravity. In the case of Newton's Cradle, the length of the pendulum would be the distance between the center of mass of each ball and the point of suspension. However, it should be noted that the motion of the balls in Newton's Cradle is not a perfect simple harmonic motion, as there are other factors at play such as friction and energy loss.
 

Related to Newton's Cradle, Simple Harmonic Motion

1. How does Newton's Cradle work?

Newton's Cradle demonstrates the principle of conservation of energy and momentum. When one ball at the end is lifted and released, it swings down and hits the first ball. The impact of the first ball is transferred through the intermediate balls to the last ball, causing it to swing up. This back and forth motion continues until the energy is dissipated through friction.

2. What is Simple Harmonic Motion?

Simple Harmonic Motion is a type of periodic motion where the restoring force is directly proportional to the displacement from the equilibrium position and acts in the opposite direction. This results in a sinusoidal or back and forth motion around the equilibrium point.

3. What factors affect the motion of Newton's Cradle?

The motion of Newton's Cradle is affected by factors such as the mass of the balls, the elasticity of the strings, and the angle at which the balls are released. The length of the strings also plays a role in determining the period of the motion.

4. What is the relationship between the number of balls and the period of Newton's Cradle?

The number of balls in Newton's Cradle does not affect the period of the motion. The period is solely determined by the length of the strings and the gravitational force acting on the balls.

5. What are some real-life applications of Simple Harmonic Motion?

Simple Harmonic Motion can be observed in many natural phenomena, such as the motion of a pendulum, the vibration of a guitar string, and the motion of a swing. It also has practical applications in devices such as clocks, seismometers, and shock absorbers.

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