NYU Physics Demos

Wilberforce Pendulum

Topics: Mechanics - Conservation of Energy, Energy Transfer, Energy of a Spring

Equipment: Two apparatuses- yellow mass attached to a hanging spring on aluminum stand.

Setup: For the simple mass, simply pull down and release. For the mass with bolts sticking out of the sides, either pull or twist and release.

The stand with the simple mass (left in the picture) is a classic oscillator- nothing more than a mass attached to a spring hanging vertically. The mass on the right, however, moves differently. The bolts sticking out of the sides cause it to act similarly to a propellor, or desk fan. If you pull it straight down, you will notice that as it bobs up and down it will begin to spin, slowly at first. Eventually it will spin faster and faster, but the oscillations will stop almost completely, only for the mass to slowly stop spinning, start oscillating, and repeat the cycle over again. If you twisted it instead of pulling, the same effect will happen- the twisting will slowly stop and it will begin to oscillate up and down.

Location: Shelf B-g5


Keywords: Spring, Pendulum, Spin, Rotate

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