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Hookes Law Laboratory Exercise

Robert Hooke (1635-1703) wrote that the business and design of the Royal Soiety is !"o i#$ro%e the knowledge of naturall things& and all useful
'rts& (anufatures& (ehanik $ratises& )ngynes and *n%entions by )+$eri#ents, "o e+a#ine all syste#s& theories& $rini$les& hy$otheses&
ele#ents& histories& and e+$eri#ents of things naturall& #athe#atiall& and #ehaniall& in%ented& reorded& or $ratised& by any onsiderable
author anient or #odern- *n order to the o#$iling of a o#$lete syste# of solid $hiloso$hy for e+$liating all $heno#ena $rodued by nature
or art& and reording a rationall aount of the auses of things- All to advance the glory of God& the honour of the .ing& the royall founder
of the Soiety& the benefit of his kingdo#& and the generall good of #ankind-/ (0ikel 130-1)
Automobile suspensions, playground toys and even retractable ball-point pens employ springs. Most springs have an
easily predicted behavior when a force is applied. onse!uently, the force that a spring applies to a body, as the
spring is extended or compressed, can be mathematically determined. "his type of relationship can be described by a
number of mathematical relationships. #n this lab, you will see which one describes the springs we are using.
$obert %oo&e, a contemporary of 'ewton, tried to define a set of mathematical laws to predict the behavior of
forces directed towards the center of something ()central forces), e.g. planetary gravity*. %e examined central forces
that were inversely proportional to the distance between two ob+ects. "his linear relationship does not hold true in
light of our present &nowledge of planetary gravitation, but wor&s well for springs. %oo&e)s Law, as commonly
used, states that the force a spring exerts on a body is directly proportional to the displacement of the system
(extension of the spring*. "hat is, F = -k x, where F is the force exerted, x is the extension of the spring, and k is the
proportionality (or spring* constant that varies from spring to spring. (,ther forms, applicable to collapsing balls and
other systems, are 1 = - k +
, 1 = - k +
and other powers of +.*
Introduction & Theory
An important property of solids is their 0stretchiness0 or 0s!uee1iness,0 which is called their elasticity. #n the case of
many solids, the amount of stretch or s!uee1e is proportional to the force causing the stretch or s!uee1e. "his
relationship can be expressed as2
1 +
which is read as 0force is proportional to stretch (or s!uee1e*0. "o change this expression into an
e!uation, a constant of proportionality must be included. "he expression ends up ta&ing the form2
1s 3 k +
where & is the constant of proportionality (in this case, the spring constant*. "he value for &
depends on the material being stretched or s!uee1ed. "his e!uation expresses what has come to be
&nown as %oo&e)s Law. 4445our problem in this experiment is to see if the spring on the
apparatus obeys %oo&e)s Law, and find the value of & for your spring.444
"he spring potential energy, 2)s$ring or 3s , can be written as
3s 3 6 k +
Aaratus !sed
"he apparatus used consists of a weight holder attached to a spring. A pointer enables the student
to mar& the distance the spring moves when weights are placed on the weight holder. 7ee 8ig 9.
8igure 92 %oo&e)s Law apparatus
8irst, line up the pointer on the weight holder with the 1ero on the scale. "hen hang a mass (in grams* on the scale
and record the distance the pointer moves (in centimeters*. 7ight hori4ontally to read the position of the pointer
along the scale (how does the mirror behind the scale help to do this:*. ;o this for 9/ different masses, hanging the
masses in ever increasing amounts and recording the information on your data table. ;o not use more than /<=
grams of mass when collecting your data. >hen you have completed your measurements, be sure to remove all
masses from the spring so as not to leave it stretched for a prolonged period of time.
'ext, convert the masses you have recorded in grams to &ilograms. Also convert the distance measurements you
made in centimeters to meters.
8inally, ma&e a graph of force vs. stretch using your results (?sing Excel is recommended2 highlight the data, ma&e
a scatter @chartA, label axis, give title, then @add trendlineA B linear, display e! C $
(the loser to 1 this is the s#aller the error) *
8orce will go on the y-axis (vertical axis* and will be in newtons. 7tretch will go on the x-axis (hori1ontal axis* and
will be in meters. #f your spring obeys %oo&eDs Law, the points on your graph should lie along a nearly straight line.
LAB #$"%#T &$'TI%N&
"y$e your re$ort (not your $artners)- 5our re$ort should ha%e eah of the following setions as subheadings- 6ne
re$ort $er $erson& i-e- e%eryone needs to ha%e their own data-
>hat is the purpose of the experiment: #n one or two sentences, state what law or theory you are trying to prove.
Give a brief discussion on the origin or early uses of the idea or the experiment. Explain who is first credited with
discovering the law or performing the experiment and what was he or she trying to prove or disprove.
>hat is the reasoning behind the experiment: Give a brief explanation as to what your data and results should show
under error free conditions (i.e., under theoretical conditions*. List what formulas are needed to obtain results from
your data:
A step-by-step description of what you did to get your experimental data. #nclude a labeled diagram of your
apparatus. >ere there extra steps which you found necessary or different from those described in the lab write-up:
#nclude your original data table with the instructors signature as well as your signature in ink. 5ou may include a
cleaned up version of your data table in your report, but the original data table still needs to be attached.
>hat does the data show: Erovide a brief discussion of its meaning. "his is where any graphs, such as the one
re!uired by the %oo&e)s Law experiment, should be presented and analy1ed. >hat is the li&ely degree of error in
your results: 5ou don)t need to give an actual error percentage, but do tell whether you thin& the degree of error is
insignificant (i.e., you can ignore it*, minor (i.e., it is something to &eep in mind*, or significant (i.e., you lab partner
really messed things up*. 7how all e!uations (i.e., the formulas you mentioned in your "heory section* and wor& out
examples as to how you used them. 8inally, number and answer all !uestions in complete sentences in paragraph
;id you show what you set out to show (as mentioned in your Eurpose section*: #f not, then why not: >here did
possible errors creep into your data: #f your line of best fit has a y-intercept of something other than 1ero, that
demonstrates error. Explain a solution to this discrepancy. Answer the !uestions presented in the lab. %ow could
any errors in your data be further minimi1ed if you were to perform the experiment over again.
"y$e the answers to the following 7uestions in o#$lete sentenes in the Results or 8onlusions setion of your lab
re$ort (it isn9t re7uired to type e7uations:showing work)- 2lease note that you are answering a 7uestion by $utting *+ in bold at
the beginning of that sentene to #ake it easier to grade- "hanks- ()-g- Q1 "he slo$e of #y line of best fit is ,* found this by,)
F92 ,n your graph, draw in the 0best fit0 straight line and compute the slope of your line from (re#e#ber units)
slope 3 y.x3 (8/ - 89*.(x/ - x9*
F/2 Explain why this slope is your best experimental value for &, the spring constant for your spring: (%int2 "hin&
of how %oo&eDs Law compares to a linear e!uation.*
F-2 ?se your %oo&eDs law e!uation to find the force of the spring for some value you didnDt measure. hec& to see
if this fits in with the data.graph.
FG2 (A* ?se your graph to predict what the extension of your spring would be if a -== g mass were supported from
the spring.
(H* >hy would your graph (if it could be extrapolated far enough* '," give the correct distance your spring
would extend under a load of I.= &g: >ould your spring support such an extension:
F<2 %ow did the mirror-bac&ed scale of the %oo&e)s Law apparatus help to ma&e your measurements more
accurate: (%int2 "hin& about one of the first concepts in we learned about in physics*
FI2 Explain why there is a negative sign in %oo&eDs Law.
FJ2 alculate how much stored potential energy is in your spring under each weight load and fill in the last column
of your data sheet with the values (in Koules, K3'm* that you find. Show work in results and disuss in
FL2 8inally, list two practical or everyday applications of %oo&e)s Law. (an you thin& of where springs are used in
your world:*
Force V. Position
y = 19.666x + 0.067
slope = k, spring constant
k = 19.67 N/m
R2 = 0.9984
0.0000 0.0500 0.1000 0.1500
Distance from equilirium !meters"


%oo&eDs Law ;ata "able
(in grams*
(in &ilograms*
(in newtons*
(in centimeters*
(in meters*
(in +oules*

example Excel
graph with
line of best fit
example data $,uation -or ./orce0 1weight2:
stretch x (m* force ('*
0.0093 0.245
0.0225 0.490
0.0415 0.980
0.0588 1.225
0.0710 1.470
$,uation -or $3astic4&ring "$2