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Mechanics
 
Aim: to show that Centripetal Force is proportional to Angular Speed Squared
See Circular Motion, Components of Forces
 
Method
This method needs two people, one to spin the rubber bung and the other to do the timing.
Holding the apparatus as shown below, cause the rubber bung to move in a circular path at, as near as possible, constant speed.
Try to keep the length, L constant throughout the experiment (the paper clip is a marker to help with this).
The mass, m of the orbiting body also remains constant.
The weight of the mass M provides the centripetal force needed to keep the bung moving in a circular path.
Measure the time period (time for one revolution) with a range of different masses, M.
 
From the diagram, it is clear that the actual radius of the path followed by the bung, r, is not equal to L.
You will notice during the experiment that the radius of the path is not constant.
You should be able to explain that (perhaps surprisingly) this is not a problem.
Hint: the force causing the acceleration is the horizontal component of the tension in the string…
 
Plot a graph which can be used to verify the relation between angular speed and centripetal force.
 
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