Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion

Figure from experiment 17 from Physics with Vernier

Introduction

We can describe an oscillating mass in terms of its position, velocity, and acceleration as a function of time. We can also describe the system from an energy perspective. In this experiment, you will measure the position and velocity as a function of time for an oscillating mass and spring system, and from those data, plot the kinetic and potential energies of the system.

Energy is present in three forms for the mass and spring system. The mass, m, with velocity, v, can have kinetic energy KE

KE = \frac{1}{2}m{v^2}

The spring can hold elastic potential energy, or PEelastic. We calculate PEelastic by using

P{E_{elastic}} = \frac{1}{2}k{y^2}

where k is the spring constant and y is the extension or compression of the spring measured from the equilibrium position.

The mass and spring system also has gravitational potential energy (PEgravitational = mgy), but we do not have to include the gravitational potential energy term if we measure the spring length from the hanging equilibrium position. We can then concentrate on the exchange of energy between kinetic energy and elastic potential energy.

If there are no other forces experienced by the system, then the principle of conservation of energy tells us that the sum ΔKE + ΔPEelastic = 0, which we can test experimentally.

Objectives

  • Examine the energies involved in simple harmonic motion.
  • Test the principle of conservation of energy.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physics with Vernier »

Physics with Vernier

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10Atwood's Machine
11Newton's Third Law
12Static and Kinetic Friction
13Air Resistance
14Pendulum Periods
15Simple Harmonic Motion
16Energy of a Tossed Ball
17Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion
18AMomentum, Energy and Collisions
18BMomentum, Energy and Collisions
19AImpulse and Momentum
19BImpulse and Momentum
20Centripetal Accelerations on a Turntable
21Accelerations in the Real World
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27Electrical Energy
28APolarization of Light
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Experiment 17 from Physics with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Physics with Vernier</i> book cover

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