Determining the number of oscillations

How many oscillations should you do?

You chose a number of oscillations based upon observation to figure out how many trials, but now we should revisit that to determine if that is the best number of oscillations. We, therefore, add a sheet to our workbook that looks like the figure below:

The second sheet of the analysis workbook is for determining the number of oscillations you should use.

You have:

  • Various number of oscillations you might try.
  • The number of trials you will do for each number of oscillations as you determined in the previous part.
  • The average and standard deviation of the total time for each number of oscillations.

From these averages you can convert to the period: if the total time for 5 oscillations is 10s, then the period is 10s/5 = 2s. One of the questions asks you about the uncertainties. You can also look at the percent uncertainty in the period. Using all of these data, choose a number of oscillations you want to use.


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Physics 132 Lab Manual by Brokk Toggerson and Aidan Philbin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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