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EXPERIMENT 1:Determination of Young’s

modulus (η)of a given spring

Debangshu Mukherjee
BS.c Physics,1st year
Chennai Mathematical Institute

1 Aim of experiment
We are going to determine the Young’s modulus of the material of a spring
by recording its time period of oscillation when loaded by a certain weight.

2 Apparatus required
a)A stand with clamp
b)A spring of the given material
d)Screw gauge
e)Stop watch
f)Meter scale

3 Theory of experiment
When a spring is loaded with a certain mass,it oscillates in a
vertical plane.Suppose, a spring of radius R is made out of a wire of length
r.The mass hanging from the end be M.Force Mg exerts a couple tending to
twist the wire on the direction of arrow as shown in figure.N is the number
of turns in the spring.

Then,the torque is given by:

πr4 ηθ
2N l

Depression x of end B is Rθ
4πRN τ

If , f is the restoring force due to the wire, then τ =f.R

Hence, equation of motion is given by:
2 4
M· ddt2x = − 4Nr Rη 3 · x

This is a S.H.M where s

2π 4M N R3
T = 2
r η

M 4N R3
η = 4π 2 · ·
T2 r4

Time periods vary with varying M.It is evident from the equation that,if we
plot an M vs. T graph,we will get a straight line as, the ratio M/T 2 is a

4 Procedure
First , our aim is to measure the radius of the spring and the
wire.We use a screw gauge to measure it. After taking a number of readings,
we take the mean which gives us the best approximation.Then, the length
of the wire is measured with a meter-scale. On dividing the length by the
radius, we get the number of turns.Now, we fix our spring to a clamp and
hang weights from it with the assumption that the weights are along the
axis.This induces an oscillation in the spring along the vertical plane. We
take a stopwatch and measure the time taken for completion of 20 oscillations
from which we deduce the time period(T) of oscillation. The weights are
known to us. Hence, making use of the formula we deduce a number of
readings for the Young’s modulus. The mean gives us the best value of the
Young’s modulus.

5 Claculations
5.1 Table 1-Measuring radius of spring
As , circular scale zero coincides with linear scale zero , there would not be
any over-estimation or underestimation in circular scale.
1 linear scale reading≡100 circular scale readings≡1 mm
1 circular scale reading(Least count)≡0.01 mm

S.No. L.S.R C.S.R Total len Mean dia Mean rad

L(mm) C (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm)
1 13 72 13.72
2 13 85 13.85
3 13 78 13.78 13.78 6.89
4 13 80 13.80
5 13 82 13.82

where L.S.R is the Linear Scale Reading

C.S.R is the Circular Scale Reading
Total length=L+C×0.01
mean radius=mean diameter/2

5.2 Table 2-Measuring radius of wire

Here again, the same arguments follow for the least count which comes out
to be 0.01 mm.Here, the circular scale zero in 3 divisions to the right of linear
scale zero .So, there is always an underestimation of (3×0.01)mm=0.03mm
S.No L.S.R C.S.R App. dia. Real dia Mean dia Mean rad
L(mm) C (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm) (mm)
1 1 41 1.41 1.44
2 1 39 1.39 1.42 1.43 0.72
3 1 41 1.41 1.44

5.3 Table 3-Measurement of time period (T)
S.No Weight Time of 20 osc. Time prd. Mean η
gms s s N/m2
1 1057 13.44 0.67 95.489× 109
2 1530 16.04 0.81 94.570× 109
3 1539 16.22 0.81 95.126× 109
4 1560 16.35 0.82 94.086× 109
5 1571 16.50 0.82 94.750× 109
6 2062 18.82 0.94 94.637× 109
7 2064 18.85 0.94 94.729× 109
8 2083 18.96 0.95 93.599× 109
9 2556 20.87 1.04 95.835× 109

5.4 Measuring no. of turns of spring

Length of spring = 30.2 cm
Diameter of wire = 1.43 mm
Lengthof spring 302
No. of turns(N)= = ' 211 turns
Diameterof spring 1.43

6 Result
So, the Young’s modulus =94.758 × 109 N/m2

7 Discussions
7.1 Measurements of radius of wire/spring with screw gauge
and weights
1)Some instrumental error comes if the linear scale zero does not co-incide
with the circular scale zero.That have been taken care of by adding/subtracting
the error.
2)The wire may not be uniform throughout. So,readings are taken at differ-
ent points along the wire. Their mean gives us the best reading.
3)While keeping the weights, we have assumed that the weight lies along the
axis of the spring. This assumption is strictly not correct. Strictly speaking
it is some component of the weight.

7.2 Measuring time period (T)

1)Firstly, the measurement of time period is not very accurate due to per-
sonal observation error.
2)The weight was not strictly oscillating in a vertical plane but also oscil-

lated in the horizontal direction by a very small amount.
3)We have actually measured the time period (T) of 20 oscillations and then
divided it by 20 to find the mean value of T. However, the oscialltions takes
place in air and some damping effect is surely prevalent. Hence, the time
period (T) is not constant.

8 Error analysis
From the equation of Young’s modulus, we can say:
dη dM dT dR dr
= +2· +3· +2· (1)
η M T R r

Here, dM =1 gm, dT =0.01s, dR=0.01mm, dr =0.01mm

Also, M =2062 gm, T =0.94s, R=6.89mm, r =0.72mm
Plugging the values in (1), we get,

= 0.054 (2)

So, percentage error = dη

η × 100 = 5.40%
Hence, corrected reading = (94 ± 5) × 109 N/m2