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Modeling the Motion of a Spring

Consider a weight attached to a spring

that is suspended from a horizontal bar
as illustrated in the figure. When the
object comes to rest we say it is at
"equilibrium" which is labeled Oon the -6
vertical nwnber line. If you give the
weight a push, either up or down, it will -4
start to move and the motion can be
modeled by sine and cosine functions. -2
The "stifthess" of the spring and the
mass of the object affect how far the
object moves from the equilibrium
position. The initial velocity and initial
position also affect the motion of the 2
spring. (We don't always start at the
equilibrium position.) 4
If we neglect any damping forces (air 6
resistance etc.) then the motion of the -l : -+ir<)-e
spring can be modeled by £O : s-h{.fn-ess
f(t)= ~ sin(mt)+x,cos(mt~ YO : I ot1 c1 I ~-t loc.d'j
y.. : i rrha\ ~-hUY'I
where x(t) is the position of the object along the number line at time t. The other
quantities are constants: m is a constant that depends on the stiffness of the spring and
the mass of the weight, v0 is the initial velocity, and x0 is the initial position of the object.

Model the motion of a weight on a spring:

'f- 0-. 3 cm Suppose a weight is set in motion from a position 3 centimeters below the equilibrium
position and with a downward velocity of 4 centimeters per second. (Please note that the
VO : L\ un / s-u vertical number line used for position is "upside down". This is a convention from
physics and it means that positions below equilibrium actually correspond to a positive
vaiue.) Ass~e that the spring stifthess and mass of the weight mean that m = 2 for this
{. : Vc.c n (A,bk system.

Part I
1) Write the function x(t)that gives the position of the weight as a function of time tin
seconds. (Your function should consist of a sine term and a cosine term.)
'I. l-i )=== ~ s, i. ( w-l') +~o eos( w-l-')
2) Graph the separate sine and cosine components of your function from (1) on the same
set of axes. That is graph Xi = Vo sin(mt) and x 2 = x 0 cos(mt) on the set of axes below.

(Sketch these graphs by hand and show two full cycles.)


3) Use a graphing calculator (or online graphing utility) to graph the entire function from
part (1). Use the window settings indicated below. Sketch what you see on your
calculator display.

xmin = 0
xmax =2,r
xscl = ¼
yscl = 1 I
_, a----+-oii----t--+-sr---t---1~---....---,..-,_---11-----,

4) Write an equation for your calculator graph in the form x(t) = Acos[B(t-C)]. (Use
the trace or maximum feature of your graphing utility to help you find values for A, B,
and C. I expect to see decimal approximations for these values.)

A co ~[~l-t-c. )J
A =-'?,¥>
t :: 2
C. : 0-?°'
5) How are the graphs from part 2) related to the graph in part 3)? Are the values for
period and amplitude the same or different? Why do you think we see these results?
Please write out your explanation using complete sentences.

l h-€ vhOJY)qµ! ol~ i"t> --\-\1-e ~

f enocls --f,CAV'l ./\-'\O'"\
Fctl ~ h 1 2-n. Woweve(1 llu_ --tht o-t~ c.orn~~~
o\ •rtftr t \nus -fl~ e~akif(l '10< 3i-°1' 3 w·1II .kc ~
toh'\Dif' M16n &i- both ~~ ~ -¾h.t 3,~hs ~ 2.

Part II:

6) Prove that the following is an identity (A is a positive constant) by filling in the blanks

Asin<;sin(mt)+ Acos<;cos(mt) = Acos(mt-¢)

Asin¢sin((J)f)+Acos¢cos(mt) = ·1ni/)s 1 w-t\-t c.,cc,.~ w !> actor out A

Commutative Property of
Commutative Property of
= A [cos( mt) cos¢+ sin(mt) sin¢] Multi lication
:::; A cos(wt - ¢) Difference identity for

Part III:
Rewrite an expression of the form
(5] I tn ¢,I
sin(mt)+~ cos(mt) = A I I
sin(mt)+ A cos(, cos(mt) in terms of a cosine function:
@- ::,-.
A cos(mt - ¢) . Use the following definitions and your result from part II: {\
'lf ;- v,s\)&Jl ~,N1u' 1
(D C1 = A sin fP ⇒ sin fP = Ci ) C ~,., ~lJ.o.9. \uOtL~
A tan;=...1.. C.
@ ______A____ c
c2 = A cos(, ⇒ cos(,= ...1.. c2 ,, rl.
~ ,.__.,_'tJ_ _
I C,, ) t.a
. M~
poss \'ol'j
rugoj-\ \R .

A, is the amplitude of the cosine function and ; , "phi", is called the phase angle and is
measured in radians.
Example: Write 4 sin 3t + 2 cos 3t in terms of a cosine function .

._. /1 A -= ~('2.~-i.-1-(-\)1. 4~,(\~'"t + l.cos 3t-~ ~.fscos (&4::- \,\d-.)

g_d 4 A" :i_{s

;)._ i:OJ\ cj -::_ ¾ C :t ~ a_{s C.O~L_3(-t--O .'~~1

</=- iM \ C-z..J ~ \ .\~
~0 RwA,~ vv-o<k. '0
7) Rewrite your function from part 1) in terms of a cosine function: A cos(wt-,p) . Show
your work.
X ({) : ~ 5-in[2 li) ➔ 6<.,os ('2,-t)

A ~ ~ C:i:}-4 C2)'-
A = ✓ °1-tLI
/1= ~ I?,

8) Compare your function from part 4) and part 7). What do you observe? Write a one or
two sentence explanation.

'brAh --t~ ~Ji-o-nS -~ LJ e1 Cifl.£, +h.t --~•lii f ~ -W1e .

W~iJ we ~OJV€, o~ i6 -h m0j ~ fhe, ~ .iJv-..

~ 'futr(\, AM k a l , ~ vl'Y1Mli!NI?,~