Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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SHO Energies

A mass is connected to a spring and is hanging down at rest as shown in the figure at the right. The dotted line indicated where the spring would be at rest if no mass were connected to it. For the period of time we are considering (2.5 s), internal damping of the spring and air resistance can be ignored. We consider two cases:

A- We pull the mass down by 10 cm and release it.

B- We pull the mass down by 30 cm and release it.

In the figures below are shown graphs of the y-position vs. time using the ruler as scale (but in unit of meters rather than cm), labeled "A" and "B" for our two cases.

The eight graphs below were calculated on a spreadsheet and represent the gravitational potential energy, the elastic potential energy, the kinetic energy, and the total energy for each of the two cases. The units are Joules. Fill out the table by matching the graphs below with each of these quantities in these cases A and B. If none work, put 9.

  Case A Case B
Gravitational PE
Elastic PE
Kinetic Energy
Total Energy

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Page last modified June 5, 2008: O42