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ERIC Number: EJ963878
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Approximate Expressions for the Period of a Simple Pendulum Using a Taylor Series Expansion
Belendez, Augusto; Arribas, Enrique; Marquez, Andres; Ortuno, Manuel; Gallego, Sergi
European Journal of Physics, v32 n5 p1303-1310 Sep 2011
An approximate scheme for obtaining the period of a simple pendulum for large-amplitude oscillations is analysed and discussed. When students express the exact frequency or the period of a simple pendulum as a function of the oscillation amplitude, and they are told to expand this function in a Taylor series, they always do so using the oscillation amplitude as the variable, without considering that if they change the variable (in this paper to the new variable "m"), a different Taylor series expansion may be performed which is in addition more accurate than previously published ones. Students tend to believe that there is one and only one way of performing a Taylor series expansion of a specific function. The approximate analytical formula for the period is obtained by means of a Taylor expansion of the exact frequency taking into account the Kidd-Fogg formula for the period. This approach based on the Taylor expansion of the frequency about a suitable value converges quickly even for large amplitudes. We believe that this method may be very useful for teaching undergraduate courses on classical mechanics and helping students understand nonlinear oscillations of a simple pendulum. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A