Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Pendulum graphs

Some of the graphs shown below represent the motion of a pendulum -- a massive ball attached to a rigid, nearly massless rod, which in turn is attached to a rigid, nearly frictionless pivot.

On the right below are shown four graphs of the pendulum's angle as a function of time. On the left are a set of four initial conditions and a denial. Match each graph with its most likely initial conditions (or with the denial). Note that the scales on the y axes are not necessarily the same. (There is not necessarily a one-to-one match.) 

(1) θ0 = 120o ω0 = 0 

(2) θ0 = 173o ω0 = 30o/s 

(3) θ0 = 6o ω0 = 0 

(4) θ0 = 173o ω0 = 0 

(5) Not a possible pendulum graph.

(A)  (B)  

(C)  (D)  

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Page last modified October 12, 2005: O10