Material Detail

Masses and Springs Lab

Masses and Springs Lab

A simulation of masses hung from a scale including gravity. Virtual lab tools, including a ruler and a stopwatch can be used to make quantitative measurements. Friction and spring constants can be adjusted, and energy graphed.

Key topics:  Hooke's Law, Springs, Conservation of Energy, Measuring Mass and Gravity

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Christopher Wentworth
14 years ago
This Flash applet is rich with possibilities for creating interactive class/lab experiences for introductory physics students. Students can change the force constant of the spring, the amount of friction, the attached mass, the amount of initial displacement, and the gravitational acceleration. The time of the motion can be measured with a "stopwatch", and the different kinds of energy, kinetic, gravitational potential, elastic potential, and thermal, can be observed in real time on a bar graph. There are also some "unknown" masses that can be attached to the springs. If you back track on the link you can locate some suggested activities. It would be nice to add the capability of graphing the attached weight's position as a function of time.

Technical Remarks:

Instructors should use the more recent version of this application available at rather than the one currently linked in MERLOT, as the updated version corrects some labels.
Time spent reviewing site: ~1 hour