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Homework Help: Simple compound pendulum

  1. Mar 20, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I am doing some coursework investigating a simple compound pendulum (in the form of a meter stick with holes drilled along it's length) and the effect of different variables on it's time period.

    I am using a stopclock to measure the time taken for 15 variations to minimise error when finding time period. I am also using a rotary potentiometer to allow for comparisons between results.

    Variables include:

    1) Pivot point fixed at the top of the pendulum, in the first hole. I am then using a 100g mass and moving this along the length of the pendulum (in each different drilled hole) to see the effect on the time period.

    2) Keeping the pivot point at the same place as before, I am varying the mass from 50g to 400g at the bottom hole of the pendulum.

    3) Keeping the mass in the bottom hole of the pendulum, I am moving the pivot point down the pendulum.

    2. Relevant equations
    Erm I know them but new to this so don't know how to write them out. I think the main equation is time period = 2 x pi times the square root of inertia over mass of pendulum times grav times distance from centre of mass to suspension point.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Basically two probs.

    In the first experiment I got basically an intial fall in the time period then steady rise as I moved the 100g down away from the pivot point down the meter stick. Can somebody explain the theory in how this happened, as I am a young student and am experiencing severe difficulties...

    In the second experiment, with the mass at the bottom, when changing the mass from 50g to 400g the time period increased. My teacher had said that this was not to be expected. Could someone please help me in explaining this behaviour?

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2008 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I assume you took the mass & rotational inertia of the stick into consideration.

    For each of your experimental trials, what were your values for I, m, and L? And your expected period?
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2008
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