Exploration 5.3: Spring Force

spring constant, k = N/m.

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The spring-ball system shown in the animation can be stretched by click-dragging the dark blue ball (position is given in meters and time is given in seconds). The black arrow attached to the ball shows the net, i.e., total, force on the ball. The pale blue ball on the left is the free-body diagram for the dark blue ball. The red and green arrows attached to the pale blue ball show the spring and gravitational forces, respectively. The acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/s2 in this animation. Restart.

  1. Find the mechanical equilibrium for this system when the spring constant is 1.0 N/m, 2.0 N/m, 3.0 N/m, and 4.0 N/m.
  2. Use your equilibrium measurements to find the mass of the ball. Hint: What forces act on the ball?
  3. Use your equilibrium measurements to find the natural length of the spring, that is, the length of the spring without an attached mass.

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