Physics Lab: Spring Constant
Goal: To determine the spring constant for a 5" spring.
- One or more 5" springs (available at a hardware store)
- Other equipment as you deem necessary!
- Design a lab to determine the spring constant k for a narrow 5-6" spring [if you have the Physics lab kit, use the Hooke's constant spring so that you can compare data with your peers]. You may consult with your fellow students use similar or different methods. Come up with a way to suspend the spring, attach your weights, and measure the displacement x caused by force of the weights. The spring constant k will be F/x.
- How many trials should you make?
- What components of the spring force equation can you vary? What should you vary? What are the limits of your variations? [Remember that stretch the spring too far will destroy its springyness and change its constant.]
- Determine the spring constant using you method for at least two other springs. If possible, collaborate (identify similar springs in your kit and compare your results with your peers).
- Explain your calculations.
- Show how plotting data such as force against extension can give you a value for k, the spring constant.
- Describe your materials, equipment, an dprocedures in sufficient detail that your fellow students could repeat your experiment.
- Report your data. Be sure to indicate the amount of error in your measurements. For example, if you can only measure a mass of 25 gms within 1 grm, your error would be 25 ± 1, or 1/25 = 4%.
- Present your data in an organized form, preferably in a table, in such a way it is easy to compare results as you repeate trials or vary a specific contributing factor.
- Show a sample calculation, if you have calculated values.
- If you did a series of experiments, varying something by increasing or decreasing a factor, try to plot your data (y-axis) as a function of the factor (x-axis).
- You may use a spreadsheet to calculate your information and create your table.
- Summarize your results.
- Draw conclusions about what is happening.
- Suggest at least one way to improve your experiment.
Post your report to the Moodle Lab Assignment for this Lab.
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