A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When released, the restoring force acting on the pendulum's mass causes it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging back and forth. The time for one complete cycle, a left swing and a right swing, is called the period. The period depends on the length of the pendulum and also to a slight degree on the amplitude , the width of the pendulum's swing.
Swinging with a Pendulum
The Science of Swinging - Lesson - TeachEngineering
Galileo Galilei first studied why a pendulum swings. His work was the start of the use of measurements to explain fundamental forces. This new device was accurate to within 15 seconds a day. Sir Isaac Newton made use of this early work as he developed the laws of motion. Pendulums can be used to show that the Earth is round. Pendulums swing with a reliable pattern and operate with the invisible force of gravity, which varies depending on altitude.
How it works…
Earlier in this lesson we learned that an object that is vibrating is acted upon by a restoring force. The restoring force causes the vibrating object to slow down as it moves away from the equilibrium position and to speed up as it approaches the equilibrium position. It is this restoring force that is responsible for the vibration. So what forces act upon a pendulum bob? And what is the restoring force for a pendulum?
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