Potential energy of the spring

The title of the project: Potential energy of the spring

Purpose of the work:

  • Identify the dependence of the potential energy of the spring on the displacement;
  • Identify the dependence of the potential energy of the spring on the spring’s constant;
  • Calculate the potential energy of the spring using force plot.

Expected results:

  • Potential energy of the spring has a quadratic dependence on the displacement and linear dependence on the spring’s constant.
  • The potential energy increases as you increase the spring’s constant and vice versa, it is directly proportional to the spring’s constant.

Practical part

To start the virtual experiment press “Energy” button.

This is how the virtual laboratory looks like.

Part 1. Dependence of potential energy on the spring’s constant

Virtual experiment.

Step 1. Stretch or compress the spring by changing the displacement.

Step 2. Change the spring constant. How does the potential energy change? 

Step 3. Make a conclusion. 

Part 2. Dependence of the potential energy on the displacement of the spring

Virtual experiment.

Step 1. Stretch or compress the spring by changing the displacement. See how the energy changes.

Step 2. Switch to the energy plot. What is the dependence of the potential energy to the displacement? As you increase the displacement, the energy increases in a quadratic way. The dependence is quadratic. 

Part 3. Calculate the potential energy

Virtual experiment.

Step 1. Switch to the force plot. 

Step 2. Calculate the area colored by blue. This is a right triangle; you multiply the bases to each other and divide by two. This gives the potential energy of the spring.

Conclusion

The potential energy of the spring has a quadratic dependence on the displacement and linear dependence on the spring’s constant. The potential energy increases as you increase the spring’s constant and vice versa, it is directly proportional to the spring’s constant.