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Muhammad Qasim Safdar

L06 Colin Gordon



The purpose of this lab is to determine the relationship between the length of a pendulum

and the measured period for that length. The pendulum will have a steel ball attached to the

bottom of the string which will be swung back and forth. The pendulum will be released from

different angles, which will be determined using a protractor, and the length of the string will be

changed several times as well. The period or the time it takes for the pendulum to make one full

swing, will be measured using a timer. The approximate relationship between the period and the

length of a simple pendulum is T=2 π √ L/ g . If the mass of the pendulum is not carefully set

into motion, it becomes a conical pendulum, which does not swing along a vertical plane.

Uncertainty in measurement is a big factor that should be handled carefully since it can cause

errors in the results that are obtained for the experiment. Therefore, the measurements of the

length of the string, the center of the ball, and the pivot point should be determined accurately.

During this experiment, two analyses will be conducted: the effect of angle on period, and effect

of string length on period.


This experiment consisted of two different parts that were both done to see the effect on

the period of a pendulum by changing certain variables. The two variables that were being tested

in this specific experiment were the angle from which the steel ball was released, and the change

in the length of the string as the pendulum was released from a fixed angle. Before the

experiment began, a reaction time test was done in order to see how accurately each partner

could measure up to 10 seconds on a stopwatch. In addition, the size of the steel ball was

measured using a meter stick. In order to perform this experiment, a steel metal ball was attached
to a string that was tied to a holder. A timer was used to measure the back and forth motion of the

pendulum in order to record the period. The first analysis involved seeing the difference in the

period as the steel ball was released from three different angles of 15, 30, and 80 degrees. The

calculation of the period was done by timing 10 oscillations of the pendulum and dividing that

number by 10 to get the actual period of the swing. The uncertainty in the measurement of the

period was calculated by using the formula √ r 2+ r 2=σ 10 T . A protractor was used to measure

the angle from the horizontal and the steel ball was released vertically in relation to the ground.

During the second part of the experiment, the length of the string was changed by 0.1 meter and

the released from an angle of 15 degrees. This was done in order to see the effect of changing

length on the time it takes for an oscillation to occur. The length of the string started at 0.1 m and

went all the way up to 1 meter. The uncertainty in the measurement was calculated using the

same equation described above. For this part of the experiment, 10 oscillations were measured

and then used to calculate the time for one period. The data was used to make observations and

gain a deeper understanding of physics.


Reaction Time: table

Trial Number Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Average
Unit s s s s
Reaction time 0.07 0.11 0.1 0.09

Steel Ball Measurement:

Quantity To Top of Ball To Bottom of Ball

Unit m m m
Value 0.48 0.5 0.02
Effect of Different Angles on Period

Quantity Angle from vert. 10T 10T T T

Unit Degrees
Value 15 14.06s 0.127 1.406 0.0127
30 14.39s 0.127 1.439 0.0127
80 15.76s 0.127 1.576 0.0127

Effect of Change of length on Period:

Quantity L (Length) L 10T 10T T (Period) T T^2 T^2

Unit m m s s s s s^2
Value 0.1 0.1 6.05 0.127 0.605 0.0127 0.366 0.0153
0.2 0.1 8.32 0.127 0.832 0.0127 0.692 0.0211
0.3 0.1 11.55 0.127 1.155 0.0127 1.33 0.0292
0.4 0.1 12.83 0.127 1.283 0.0127 1.64 0.0325
0.5 0.1 14.53 0.127 1.453 0.0127 2.11 0.0369
0.6 0.1 15.46 0.127 1.546 0.0127 2.39 0.0392
0.7 0.1 17.06 0.127 1.706 0.0127 2.91 0.0433
0.8 0.1 18.11 0.127 1.811 0.0127 3.27 0.0459
0.9 0.1 18.81 0.127 1.881 0.0127 3.53 0.0477
1 0.1 20.1 0.127 2.01 0.0127 4.04 0.0511
L vs T^2 Plot Slope G
Unit m s^2
Value 0.2479 4.893
Uncertainty 0.001704 0.0336

L vs T^2

Quantity L (Length) L T T ln(L) ln(L) Ln(T) ln(T)

Unit m m s s
Value 0.1 0.1 0.605 0.0127 -2.302585093 1 -0.502526821 0.02099173554
0.2 0.1 0.832 0.0127 -1.609437912 0.5 -0.1839228382 0.01526442308
0.3 0.1 1.155 0.0127 -1.203972804 0.3333333333 0.144100344 0.010995671
0.4 0.1 1.283 0.0127 -0.9162907319 0.25 0.2492010856 0.009898674981
0.5 0.1 1.453 0.0127 -0.6931471806 0.2 0.3736303846 0.00874053682
0.6 0.1 1.546 0.0127 -0.5108256238 0.1666666667 0.4356709502 0.008214747736
0.7 0.1 1.706 0.0127 -0.3566749439 0.1428571429 0.5341514491 0.007444314185
0.8 0.1 1.811 0.0127 -0.2231435513 0.125 0.5938791789 0.007012700166
0.9 0.1 1.881 0.0127 -0.1053605157 0.1111111111 0.6318035503 0.006751727804
1 0.1 2.01 0.0127 0 0.1 0.6981347221 0.00631840796
Natural Log Table:

Ln(L) vs Ln(T) Plot Slope Intercept g

Unit m m s^2
Value 1.84 -1.363 10.78
Uncertainty 0.0778 0.02818 1.5

Ln(T) vs Ln(L)

Question 1:

Ans: While it might be true that if two uncertainties overlap, the period for two different angles

can theoretically be the same, this doesn’t mean that the relation that is shown by the graph is

false. As the angle gets larger, the period time increases as well because the pendulum is being

released from a higher position relative to the vertical which causes it to have a larger oscillation.

Gravity is the biggest cause of this since when the ball is released from an angle, the farther the

distance from the ground, the more acceleration the ball is going to pick up on its way down and

swing back and forth with more energy.

Question 2:

Ans: No, my value for g is not consistent with the actual value for gravity. I calculated a value of

4.893 +/- 0.0336, while the actual value is around 9.81. There are many different factors that

could have caused an error in measurement. I think some of the mistakes that were made while

doing the experiment were that the length of the string was not measured precisely, the angle

from which the ball was released could also have been a fatal error while performing the

experiment. It is hard to get the string to align precisely with the desired angle on the protractor.

These are couple of things that can be improved if someone were to repeat this experiment again.

Question 3:

Ans: The log vs log plot gives a more accurate value for gravity. This is because the actual value

of gravity is a lot closer to 10.78 +/- 1.5 than 4.89 +/- 0.0336, as it was calculated by using the

natural log graph. However, the first graph gives a more precise estimate of g because the data

points are all evenly spread out and the uncertainty of the calculated gravity is a lot lower.

In conclusion, this experiment was performed to determine what are the effects on the period of a

pendulum given certain changes in the variables surrounding the swing of the steel ball on the

string. As this experiment shows, increasing the angle from which the oscillation of a pendulum

is originally started causes an increase in the period. In addition, increasing the length of the

string causes an increase in the time it takes for one oscillation as well. If this experiment were to

be repeated again, certain things could be done to improve the accuracy of the results such as

using a more precise measuring stick and protractor, having a different and more thick string, and

having a better holder for the string to spin on.