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Homework Help: Question Interpretation: "Describe the energy conversions in spring"

  1. Jul 31, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I have a question in interpreting the following question:
    "Describe the energy conversions in a spring undergoing simple harmonic motion as it moves from the point of maximum compression to maximum stretch in a frictionless environment. Be sure to point out the points at which there will be...
    i) maximum speed
    ii) minimum speed
    iii) minimum acceleration"

    I know how to explain the motion and the answers for this but I'm wondering if the question is asking about simple harmonic motion for a vertically hanging spring (vertical motion, no friction) or simple harmonic motion for a wall-attached spring (horizontal motion, no friction) as it compresses and expands on a table surface? I understand that both scenarios involve simple harmonic motion without friction. In this chapter we are looking simple harmonic motion of a spring with no friction.

    Thank you for your time.

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I would think either case would see you earn full marks if explained correctly, but since you ask I'd say go with the latter.
  4. Jul 31, 2014 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The question asks about the energy conversions involved. In both cases the energy conversions that they are likely to be most interested in are similar (although not identical). I agree with NascentOxygen, the latter (horizontal case) is simpler.
  5. Jul 31, 2014 #4


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    Science Advisor

    I think the energy conversions should be the same, no matter which case you choose to describe. I agree with NascentOxygen that it shouldn't matter as long as you make it clear what you are explaining and explain it correctly.
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