3A15.10 Physical Pendulum
Simple harmonic motion
A physical pendulum undergoes simple harmonic motion when displaced by a small angle. The oscillations are no longer simple harmonic motion when it is released from a large angle. The pendulum's pivot point can be set at different positions, and two masses can be attached to change the moment of inertia.
-  Physical pendulum table
-  Physical pendulum stand
-  Pivot screw
-  Wingnut
-  C-clamp
-  Metal physical pendulum with holes
- (Optional)  Stopwatch
- (Optional)  Screw
- (Optional)  Circular mass
- (Optional)  Wingnut
- Place the pendulum stand on the edge of the table.
- Clamp the stand to the table using C-clamps.
- Attach the pivot screw to the pendulum stand.
- Mount the pendulum at any of the holes.
- Secure the mounting using a wingnut.
- Raise the metal pendulum to a small angle (about 20° or less) and release it.
- Now raise the metal pendulum to a large angle and release it.
- Attach a mass or two using screws and wingnuts and repeat the experiment.
- Change the pendulum pivot position and repeat the experiment.
- Show using a stopwatch that when the assumption of small oscillations is violated, the pendulum does not undergo simple harmonic motion. The period should vary with oscillation amplitude.
- PIRA 3A15.10
- Don't attempt this at home!
If you have any questions about the demos or notes you would like to add to this page, contact Ricky Chu at ricky_chu AT sfu DOT ca.