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Name: Jivan Raghoo

Date: 26/03/12

Title: Pendulum

Aim: To investigate the oscillations of a chain of paper clips.

Apparatus & Materials:

Paper clips (25)

Cork with hook attached to base
Retort stand with boss


Figure 1 showing the set up of apparatus

Name: Jivan Raghoo

Simple harmonic motion can be defined as the motion that occurs if the acceleration of a
body is directly proportional to its distance from a fixed point and is always directed
towards that point. The period of an oscillation, T, is the time taken for one complete

This experiment represents a simple pendulum undergoing simple harmonic motion. The
equation for the period of a simple pendulum is:

T =2

This equation shows that T is directly proportional to l, the length of the pendulum. In

this experiment l is dependent upon the number of paperclips, n.

The equation given for T is:

T = p nq


T is the period of oscillation

n is the number of paper clips

p and q are constants


1. The cork was firmly clamped to the boss.

2. A chain of n paper clips was attached to the hook with an initial value of n=25.
3. The chain was displaced from its equilibrium position by moving the bottom clip
4. The time for 20 oscillations was measured and recorded.
5. The value of n was decreased in increments of 5 and the procedure was repeated
until 6 readings were obtained.
6. All results were recorded in a table.
Name: Jivan Raghoo

1. Manipulated Variable: length of paper clip chain

2. Responding variable: period of oscillation


Table 1 showing values for the number of paper clips, time for 20 oscillations, period, log
T and log n.

No. of paper Time for 20 Period (T) log T log n

clips (n) oscillations1/ s
25 27.09 1.35 0.130 1.40
20 24.34 1.22 0.086 1.30
15 21.80 1.09 0.037 1.18
12 19.40 0.97 -0.013 1.08
10 17.86 0.89 -0.056 1.00
7 15.44 0.77 -0.114 0.85

Treatment of results:

y 2 y 1
Gradient = x 2x 1

= 1.380.86

= 0.44

From the equation,


We can take logs on both sides

T = lg pnq
Name: Jivan Raghoo
lgT =lgp+qlg n

lgT =qlgn+ lg p

y=mx +c

Gradient = q

Therefore q = 0.44

To find y-intercept we can sub in the values and a point on the line (1.38, 0.12)

0.12 = 0.44(1.38) + lg p

lg p = -0.487

p = 0.33

t=0.005 s


1. Displacement of paper clip must be less than 10o in order to ensure that motion is
simple harmonic.
2. Windows were closed to reduce interference by environmental factors.

Sources of error:

1. The timing did not always begin immediately as motion of oscillation becomes
smooth and reproducible.
2. The oscillation of the paper clips were not always in one dimension, therefore the
period was not exact.

Conclusion: q = 0.44, p = 0.33