Experiment: Potential Energy of a Spring
- A spring
- A meter stick
- A mass (e.g., a book or a weight)
- A ruler
- Stopwatch or timer
- Set up the spring so that it is vertical, with the bottom end clamped or held securely.
- Use the meter stick to measure the height from the bottom of the spring to the floor, and record this as the initial height (h1).
- Attach the mass to the bottom of the spring, making sure it does not touch the floor.
- Use the ruler to measure the displacement of the spring from its original length and record this as the change in length (x).
- Carefully release the mass from the spring and use the stopwatch to time how long it takes for the mass to hit the floor.
- Use the meter stick to measure the height from the floor to the bottom of the mass at the instant it hits the floor, and record this as the final height (h2).
- Calculate the change in height (Δh) by subtracting the final height from the initial height: Δh = h2 – h1.
- Calculate the potential energy of the spring (PE) using the equation: PE = 0.5kx^2, where k is the spring constant and x is the change in length.
- Calculate the kinetic energy of the mass (KE) using the equation: KE = 0.5mv^2, where m is the mass of the object and v is the velocity of the object just before it hits the ground.
- Calculate the work done by the spring (W) using the equation: W = PE = KE.
- Calculate the power (P) using the equation: P = W/t, where t is the time it takes for the mass to hit the floor.
Explain what you observed:
What is your conclusion?