Hookes Law Gcse Coursework

Hooke's Law

When an elastic object, such as a spring, is stretched, the increased length is called its extension. The extension of an elastic object is directly proportional to the force applied to it:

F is the force in newtons (N)

k is the 'spring constant' in newtons per metre (N/m)

x is the extension in metres (m)

This equation works as long as the elastic limit (the limit of proportionality) is not exceeded. If a spring is stretched too much, for example, it will not return to its original length when the load is removed.

The spring constant

The spring constant, k, is different for different objects and materials. It is found by carrying out an experiment. For example, the unloaded length of a spring is measured. Different numbers of slotted masses are added to the spring and its new length is measured each time. The extension is the new length minus the unloaded length.

Assuming the limit of proportionality (elastic limit) is not exceeded, a graph of force against extension produces a straight line that passes through the origin. The gradient of the line is the spring constant, k. The greater the value of k, the stiffer the spring.

Hooke's Law

When an elastic object - such as a spring - is stretched, the increased length is called its extension. The extension of an elastic object is directly proportional to the force applied to it:

F = k Ă— e

  • F is the force in newtons, N
  • k is the 'spring constant' in newtons per metre, N/m
  • e is the extension in metres, m

This equation works as long as the elastic limit (the limit of proportionality) is not exceeded. If a spring is stretched too much, for example, it will not return to its original length when the load is removed.

The spring constant

The spring constant k is different for different objects and materials. It is found by carrying out an experiment. For example, the unloaded length of a spring is measured. Different numbers of slotted masses [slotted mass: Metal object of specified mass with a slot allowing it to be placed on hangers. ] are added to the spring and its new length measured each time. The extension is the new length minus the unloaded length.

Assuming the limit of proportionality (elastic limit) is not exceeded, a graph of force against extension produces a straight line that passes through the origin. The gradient [gradient: Another word for 'slope', it shows how steep a line is. ] of the line is the spring constant, k. The greater the value of k, the stiffer the spring.

Now try a Test Bite.

Graph showing Hooke's Law. Extension is plotted against force.

Back to Forces and their effects index

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