Vernier Software & Technology

# Clock Design: Period and Length of a Simple Pendulum

## Introduction

The pendulum is the heart of many clocks used in the last four hundred years. Pendulum clocks can be larger or small, but they can keep fairly accurate time. Have you noticed that short pendulums beat more quickly than long pendulums? The time for one complete cycle of a pendulum is called the period. A typical grandfather clock has a pendulum with a length of about a meter, with a period of about two seconds. The clock built by Thomas Tompion in 1675 for the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, had an extraordinarily long pendulum of about four meters. The period of that pendulum was about four seconds. How does the period of the pendulum depend on its length? In this activity you can explore this relationship.

It turns out that the period of a pendulum is nearly independent of its amplitude, as long as the amplitude isnâ€™t too big. So, by measuring the period of a pendulum as a function of length, you can determine the relationship.

## Objectives

• Record the horizontal position vs. time for a pendulum.
• Determine the period of the pendulum motion for various pendulum lengths.
• Determine the relationship between pendulum period and length.

## Sensors and Equipment

This activity features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

### Option 2

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

## Real-World Math with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

 1 Walk the Line - Straight Line Distance Graphs 2 Making Cents of Math: Linear Relationship between Weight and Quantity 3 Pool Plunge - Linear Relationship between Water Depth and Pressure 4 Funnel Volumes - Volume and Weight 5 Keep It Bottled Up - Rates of Pressure Increase 6 Mix It Up - Mixing Liquids of Different Temperatures 7 Spring Thing - Newton's Second Law 8 Stretch It to the Limit - The Linear Force Relation for a Rubber Band 9 What Goes Up - Position and Time for a Cart on a Ramp 10 That's the Way the Ball Bounces - Height and Time for a Bouncing Ball 11 Walk This Way - Definition of Rate 12 Velocity Test - Interpreting Graphs 13 From Here to There - Applications of the Distance Formula 14 Under Pressure - The Inverse Relationship between Pressure and Volume 15 Light at A Distance - Distance and Intensity 16 Chill Out: How Hot Objects Cool 17 Charging Up, Charging Down - Charging a Capacitor 18 Bounce Back - The Pattern of Rebound Heights 19 Sour Chemistry - The Exponential pH Change 20 Swinging Ellipses - Plotting an Ellipse 21 Lights Out! - Periodic Phenomena 22 Tic, Toc: Pendulum Motion 23 Stay Tuned: Sound Waveform Models 24 Up And Down: Damped Harmonic Motion 25 How Tall? Describing Data with Statistical Plots 26 And Now, the Weather - Describing Data with Statistics 27 Meet You at the Intersection: Solving a System of Linear Equations 28 Titration Curves: An Application of the Logistic Function 29 Clock Design: Period and Length of a Simple Pendulum 30 Graph It in Pieces: Piecewise Defined Functions 31 Stepping to the Greatest Integer: The Greatest Integer Function 32 Crawling Around: Parametric Plots

### Activity 29 from Real-World Math with Vernier Lab Book

#### Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.