AQA A Level Physics

Revision Notes

6.2.4 Period of Mass-Spring System

Period of Mass-Spring System

  • A mass and spring system is a type of simple harmonic oscillator
  • The time period  of a mass-spring system is:

Mass-Spring Time Period Equation

  • Where:
    • 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

Worked Example

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.

Mass-Spring Worked Example

Exam Tip

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.

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