DAMPED HARMONIC MOTION
Today you will use the sonic ranger and a force probe to study the
energy transformations in an oscillating spring-mass system quantitatively. A force probe
will be used to support the spring and mass, thereby, we can find the force acting on the
mass at any time. The position (necessary to find GPE and PE,
respectively) will be monitored by a sonic ranger. We know that the mechanical energy (ME) is defined as the sum of the
kinetic (KE), the gravitational potential energy (PEg) and the spring potential energy (PEsp). The data will be analyzed using Logger Pro. Logger
Pro will provide you with position and velocity data as usual. You will then
create new columns to calculate the various energies from the position and velocity
data. Finally, an experimental check will be made of the Work-Energy theorem.
If you don't remember the Work-Energy theorem, you should review before coming
Part I: Collecting data
- Carefully measure and record the mass of the pan and the mass of the
- Start Logger Pro. Open
"ENERGY2.xmbl" in the PHY 173 or PHY 183 folder as
appropriate for your class.
- Next you will need to calibrate your force probe
by hanging a known weight on it and give the program that value. Accurate
calibration is very important!
- Under the Experiment menu choose Calibrate,
then Ch 1, then Perform now.
- Make sure that no force is applied to the force probe and then click Keep.
- Add the 200g mass to the hook and
wait until it is motionless. Enter
the weight of the 200g mass in the box for the known calibration force.
Watch the lower window. When its value is stable, click Keep.
Your force probe is now calibrated.
- Next, take a set of data and verify that the average force is indeed the
weight of your calibration mass. Remove the calibration mass.
- Hang the spring and pan from the force probe. Collect some data as you
move the pan up and down by hand.
- Make sure that the sonic ranger is
"seeing" the pan. If not, change the position of the sonic ranger until it
- Normally the sonic ranger has x=0 set at the sonic ranger. In this
experiment it is more convenient if x=0 is at the position of the pan. To do that
we will use the "Zero" function in Logger.
- Hold the pan with your hands so
that it is the position where the spring is unstretched but just ready to start
- Make sure your hands are above the bottom of the pan so that they don't
interfere with the sonic ranger reading.
- While holding the pan in position, select
"Zero" on the Experiment menu. The sonic ranger should click just briefly.
- Let the pan hang from the spring normally and take a set of data.
Use the "statistics" function (under "ANALYZE" or a
button on the toolbar) to find the average value of the position of the pan and the
average force measured by the force probe. Record both values. Check that the average
force is consistent with the weight of the pan and spring.
- Now add 100 grams of mass to the center of the pan, which
will stretch the spring more. Wait for the pan to stop
moving. Take another set of data and again find the
average force and position.
- Use the force and position values you recorded to find the spring constant of
the spring. (If you don't remember how, look back to the Hooke's law experiment in
your lab notebook.)
- Gently pull straight down on the pan (with both hands) and then try to
release it without any sideways motion. The pan should oscillate smoothly, without
jerkiness. If this is the case, acquire a set of data. Look at the force and position
graphs. If they are relatively smooth and mostly free from glitches, you can
save your data under a new filename. (This just makes sure you don't accidentally lose
your data during the analysis process.)
- Remove the spring and pan from the force probe. The springs are
fragile and will fatigue if left supporting the pan and mass for a lengthy period.
- Print a graph of your data and include it in your report.
Part II: Analysis of Data
- Create a new column that uses your velocity data to calculate kinetic
energy. The mass you should use is the pan plus the 100g plus half the mass of the
spring. This is because effectively only half of the mass of the spring is moving.
- Create a column to calculate the spring potential energy at each point.
- Create a column to calculate gravitational potential energy for each
- Lastly, you need a column for mechanical energy, which is just the sum of
the other three energies.
- Set up graphs for each of the four energies.
- Compare the two
potential energy graphs.
- Why does KE have a different period than the potential
- Would you conclude that mechanical energy is constant for this
- If not, where does the lost energy go?
- Either print all four graphs or
set up a single graph with all four functions plotted on it and print that composite
- Now we want to verify the work-energy theorem by calculating the change
in KE and the work done for each time interval. Logger Pro makes this easy for us by
providing a built-in function called delta that subtracts two adjacent data points.
So, for instance, if you wanted to calculate the change in velocity you would put in delta("velocity") for the equation that defines that column. Create new
columns for change in kinetic energy and work done. Remember work is net force
* change in position.
- Create a graph that has work and change in kinetic energy on the same
graph. Are they equal? In what way are they different? Add KE to your
graph. Are the differences between work and change in kinetic energy small compared
to the size of the KE?
last modified on
Sunday, September 29, 2013