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Torsional pendulum lab for physics lab 2501w

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Goal

This experiment is designed for the review of the rotation of rigid body

Related topics

Rotational motion, Oscillatory motion, Elasticity

Introduction

A torsional pendulum, or torsional oscillator, consists usually of a disk-like mass suspended

from a thin rod or wire (see Fig. 1). When the mass is twisted about the axis of the wire, the wire

exerts a torque on the mass, tending to rotate it back to its original position. If twisted and

released, the mass will oscillate back and forth, executing simple harmonic motion. This is the

angular version of the bouncing mass hanging from a spring. This gives us an idea of moment of

inertia. We will measure the moment of intertia of several different shaped objects. As

comparison, these moment of intertia can also be calculated theoretically.We can also verify the

perpendicular axis theorem. Given that the moment of intertia of one object is known, we can

determine the torsinal constant K.

Fig. 1 Skematic diagram of a

torsional pendulun

This experiment is based

on the torsional simple

harmonic oscillation with the

analogue of displacement

replaced

by

angular

displacement , force by

torque M, and the spring

constant by torsinal constant.

For a given small twist (suffciently small), the experienced reaction is given by

M = - K

(1)

This is just like the Hookes law for the d 2 springs. If a mass with moment of inertia I is

I

attached to the rod, the torque will give the dt 2 mass an angular acceleration according to

M = I= Then we get the relation

d 2

K

(2) dt 2

I

Hence on solving this second order

differential equation we get

and

2

T 2K I I

K

(3)

where is the angular velocity and T is the period. These are our governing equation of the

II-1

experiment.

Experiment device

Procedure

1.

Familiarize yourself with the operation of the device. Adjust the device carefully so that it is

ready for the measurement.

2. Determine the torsinal constant K of the spiral spring with a plastic cylinder. Employ the

theoretically calculated moment of inertia of the plastic cylinder as a known value.

3. Measure the moment of inertia of differently shaped object. Compare the measured results

with the theoretically calculated values.

Optional

4. Verify the parallel axis theorem.

Questions

1.

2.

What are the causes that may bring error to our measurement?

References

1.

2004 pp. 100-103

II-2

2.

II-3

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