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What are tips for finding the spring constant?

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Quick Answer

The spring constant may be determined using Hooke's Law. An experiment may be arranged to use the principle of Hooke's Law to calculate the value of the spring constant based on the force a spring exerts on an object and the displacement of the spring from its equilibrium state.

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Full Answer

Each spring has a unique spring constant. This constant becomes a factor to determine the force exerted on an object once combined with the spring's distance from its original relaxed position. This is based on Hooke's Law, which is presented in a mathematical formula as F = -kx, where "F" is the force, "x" is the spring's displacement, and "k" is the spring constant. The negative sign denotes that the force is in the opposite direction of the object pulling the spring.

To determine the spring constant through a laboratory experiment, the spring must first be suspended from a reference hook or rod. A ruler is placed behind the spring, with the zero marking positioned at the level of the lowest point of the spring. Tests are done using different weights, preferably ranging in the same multiples, such as 50 grams, 100 grams, 150 grams and 200 grams. Each weight is placed on the hook at the end of the spring, and the displacement is measured using the ruler. The set of data is plotted in a graph wherein the x-value is the weight and the y-value is the displacement. The spring constant may be calculated as the slope of the line that appears on the graph.

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