- A mass and spring system is a type of simple harmonic oscillator
- The time period of a mass-spring system is:
- T = time period (s)
- m = mass (kg)
- k = spring constant (N m-1)
- This could be a horizontal or vertical mass-spring system
- The equation shows that the time period and frequency, of a mass-spring system, does not depend on the force of gravity
- Therefore, the oscillations would have the same time period on Earth and the Moon
- The higher the spring constant k, the stiffer the spring and the shorter the time period
Calculate the frequency of a mass of 2.0 kg attached to a spring of spring constant 0.9 N m–1 oscillating in simple harmonic motion.
Another area of physics where you may have seen the spring constant k is from Hooke’s Law. Exam questions commonly merge these two topics together, so make sure you’re familiar with the Hooke’s Law equation too.