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# Investigations into the motion of a simple pendulum

the most important of these being that the time period is independent of the amplitude of oscillation and the mass of the pendulum and that the square of the time period varies directly with the length. From this solution the empirical law of Galileo for the time period follows: √ However. The component perpendicular to the string exerts a torque of magnitude and according to the rotational form of Newton’s Second Law this must be equal in magnitude to the time derivative of the angular momentum. Since the torque. The exact analytic solution to the original differential equation has an infinite power series: √ ( ) . is always in the opposite direction to that which the angle is measured the fundamental equation of motion for a pendulum is: ̇ Since the mass of the string is negligible to that of the bob the moment of inertia of the system is . However. if a small angle approximation is taken. Galileo also claimed that the period of the pendulum is independent of its amplitude. From his investigations Galileo noticed a number of interesting aspects to their motion. When the pendulum is displaced some angle (as measured from the vertical) the weight of the bob has components perpendicular to and parallel to the pendulum string. where is the distance from pivot to the centre of mass of the bob. In this investigation I am going to test a number of these assertions:    whether the time period is independent of the amplitude whether the time period is independent of the mass and what is the value of the gravitational acceleration which is part of the constant of proportionality. These components are and respectively. this formula is only valid when the small angle approximation is valid. such that . however. where is initial angle and is the average angular velocity.Introduction The simple pendulum was first investigated scientifically by Galileo in 1602 after watching a chandelier swing back and forth in Pisa cathedral whilst a student there some time earlier. Mathematics From analysis of an idealised pendulum this relationship can be derived. This equation then simplifies to: ̈ This differential equation has no elementary solution. however. this is not true. then the general solution (given that at the initial time the displacement is at a maximum) is .

The apparatus consisted of a retort stand which was fixed to the bench using G clamps to provide a solid base for the pendulum so as to restrict as much secondary motion as possible. as the angle increases it becomes clear that the later terms play a much larger role and cannot be ignored in the power series. let it swing once. Add the masses to the string and adjust the length of the string until it measured 0. 2. From the stand a clamp was attached and from its arm the pendulum was suspended and a protractor placed.For small angles this simplifies to the previous formula.65m. Both these formulae can easily be arranged to isolate measured depeding on the appropriate formula. Displace pendulum to the specified initial angle as marked by the protractor 3. Record observations and repeat . with two or three unknowns left to be Experiment The experimental procedure revolved around producing the most accurate pendulum possible given the constraints of the equipment available. Release the pendulum. however. then begin stopwatch the moment it passes the vertical position 4. The procedure was as follows: 1. Count 10 complete oscillations and then stop the time 5.