The Flip-Flop Pendulum--A nonlinear physics archetype
It has been shown that energy loss in a long period pendulum results primarily from internal friction of the load bearing structures of the mechanical oscillator--c.f. Peters and Pritchett, "The not-so-simple harmonic oscillator", Amer. J. Phys. 65, no. 11, 1065-1073 (1997). The generalized flip-flop pendulum model provides insight into loss mechanisms involving mesoanelastic complexity.
Students interested in this project will be able to do measurements on an existing pendulum--to investigate the logarithmic decrement as a function of period.
Return to the Mercer Physics student projects page.