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SWING THE LEAD

Investigate how a pendulum works

Suitable For

Grade 2

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <1 Hour

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

A ‘Pendulum’ is a rod or a string with a weight called a ‘bob’ on the end. Pendulums are often used in clocks. They swing right and left at a constant rate, so they make the clockwork mechanism move at a steady speed. Let us investigate how pendulums work in this science experiment:

Topics covered

Pendulum

What will I need?

  • STRING
  • WASHERS (WEIGHTS)
  • WATCH (TIMER)

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

The pendulum works by using gravity to constantly transfer potential energy to kinetic energy and back again. The amount of total energy in the pendulum is determined by the size of the mass at the end of the pendulum, and the height the mass is raised above its original position.

When the pendulum swings, the total energy would be conserved, but in the atmosphere the ambient air creates drag on the mass, so it swings to a slightly lower height with every swing. Eventually, the drag overcomes the energy in the pendulum and it stops. If a pendulum is set in motion in a vacuum where the ambient air would have no drag effect on it, it will continue to swing up to the same height from which it was released for an infinite amount of time.

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