Essay PreviewMore ↓
My son begs to watch me swing on one of the swing sets at the park. I tell him that there is so much work involved and I don’t know if I have the energy to do all of the
many things it takes to make a swing move. It’s such an innocent plea, but complicated in the terms of the actual process of it. The physics of swinging has so many components. From resonance to force, and from the period of the swing to the conversion of energy, the process of swinging is actually a complicated matter.
While you watch a person swing, place your hand at the maximum point of the swing’s achieved height and then count how many seconds it takes to return back to that same height. You have just measured the period of the swing. The period of the swing is the time it takes the swing to make one full move back and forth. The equation used to solve for the period mathematically is T = 2p (square root of L/g), where L is the length of the pendulum, and g is gravity. There are a few things that can change the period of a pendulum. As length increases and as the force of gravity increases so will the period. Likewise, when both gravity and length of the chains decrease, the period does also. My reference Mark Nethercott says that if there are no outside influences, the period stays constant at about 15 degrees of arch, but the amplitude must be low. This statement corresponds with Newton’s first law of motion (law of inertia) that says, “Every object remains at rest or in motion in a straight line at constant speed unless acted on by an unbalanced force.” (Physics, A World View p.31).
A force other than gravity and the length of the swing can alter the outcome of a period. While standing with your hand out, measuring the period, give the person on the swing a push.
“Periodic motion is motion that repeats itself at regular intervals of time and resonance is periodic increases of the amplitude of periodic motion due to a force
at a constant interval. So while you push the person on the swing, you are creating a form of resonance for the swing.” –Mark Nethercott.
There is one last force that changes the period of a swing, and that is squatting and standing, or leaning back and forth.
How to Cite this Page
"The Physics of Swinging." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Golf is one of the toughest sports there is. The entire goal of the game is to get a very small ball into a cup that is several hundred yards away. What most people may not realize is that physics plays a role in just about every aspect of trying to get the ball into that cup. Every part of the game, from the tee-off until the ball drops into the cup, is affected by physics in one way or another. The purpose of this web page is to introduce you to the role that physics plays in the game of golf.... [tags: physics sport sports golf]
1959 words (5.6 pages)
- Physics Of Bowling The one thing that interests me is bowling. I have been playing all my life and after a whole semester and a half of being in Mr. Fetter’s class, I realized that everything has physics in it. One night after going bowling with my girlfriend(s) I wondered why when I hit the first pin, only seven went down and thus I lost the game. So, I got on the Internet and found a lot of articles and web sites talking about the physics of bowling. A lot of the web sites were brief descriptions.... [tags: Physics Bowling Science Essays]
1191 words (3.4 pages)
- Running is a natural form of human locomotion. To many, running is an essential aspect of most sports and is also a simple way that requires little to get exercise anywhere. But because many people have adapted to improper forms of running over time, numerous physical injuries are the results. With the help of understanding the physics behind running, people can learn to run in such a way that expends less energy from the body. Keeping physics in mind may also lead to less injuries and effortless running.... [tags: physics run running]
1990 words (5.7 pages)
- The motions of throwing, batting, and fielding will be presented in physics terms and ideas. Physics plays a big role in sports. One particular sport is softball, where we will be seeing different motions represented. First, we are going to look at the two different types of throwing. There is the regular over-hand throw and there is also the pitching style. When looking at the regular over-hand throw and the pitching style of throwing, many of the same concepts apply to both. In pitching, there are three main issues involved.... [tags: Sports]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- The Hurdle Before a diver jumps off of a springboard, he does a sort of hop-skip step called a hurdle. After doing a few steps, the diver leaps up into the air with his arms raised. When he lands back down on the tip of the board, he swings his arms down past his legs and then up, leaping into the air and off of the board. The purpose of this hurdle is as follows: A diver cannot simply stand on the end of board, step off, and expect to have the power to go up or the momentum to rotate his body in any direction.... [tags: Sport Swimming Swim Diving Diver Physics]
925 words (2.6 pages)
- Swinging the Bat for Power Many people might think that swinging the bat straight through the ball would be enough to hit the ball a decent distance off the bat. There's many more mechanics involved in the swinging process. Muscle has only a small part to play in the swinging a bat for power. There are two types of mechanics involved while swinging a bat, Linear and Rotational. Rotational mechanics are the dominant source of power in the swing. Out of the rotational mechanics come the two forces that help generate the speed and power of the swing, torque and the other comes from the energy of rotation.... [tags: Sport Baseball Physics]
1526 words (4.4 pages)
- My science report is about whether a corked aluminum bat hits a ball farther than a regular aluminum bat. But first before I get into that boring science stuff, I’ll tell you about the history of baseball. Baseball originated in American before the Civil War (1861-1865) the game was called rounders and was played in sand lots. The first professional team was founded in Cincinnati in 1869. During the 1950’s and 60’s the MLB really took off, it was a time for expansion for the American league and National league.... [tags: bat, corking, distance]
815 words (2.3 pages)
- The Physics of Golf As anyone who has played a round of golf will attest to, the sport is based around many fundamental principals of physics. These basic laws are involved with every aspect of the game from how a player swings the club to how the ball moves through the air on its way toward the pin. It is the challenge that physics presents to the golfer that has allowed the game, and equipment used, to develop so drastically over the past one hundred years. The first golf balls used were called featheries.... [tags: Papers]
3559 words (10.2 pages)
- The Physics of Fishing The use of a boat while fishing and some of the physics applicable to boating will be included in exploring the various ways physics applies to the sport of fishing. Other topics will include the fishing rod, fishing lure, casting, and the fish itself. The boat floats on the water according to Archimedes Principle which states an immersed object is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces. The force applied downwards by earth’s gravity coupled with the upward force of buoyancy allows the boat to float.... [tags: Physics ]
871 words (2.5 pages)
- The Trebuchet The roots of the machine go back to at least the fifth century B.C. in China. In its most primitive form, it consisted of a pivoted beam with a sling at one end and ropes at the other. A stone would be placed in the sling and a team of men would haul the ropes, swinging the beam up into the air”1. “The trebuchet reached the Mediterranean by the sixth century C.E. It displaced other forms of artillery and held its own until well after the coming of gunpowder. The trebuchet was instrumental in the rapid expansion of both the Islamic and the Mongol empires.... [tags: Physics Trebuchet History Papers]
1890 words (5.4 pages)
Starting out on the swing, you are at no movement, your feet are just dangling and your hands grip the chains. You are now at the equilibrium of the swing. According to Mark Nethercott, there is only the energy between you, gravity, and the ground. Essentially there is no kinetic energy or gravitational potential energy and you use this point as the starting and stopping position. Nethercott states that “ . . . if you use a force, such as work, and pull the (swing and person) to a point, it then has a potential energy that has mass of object (m) times the acceleration of gravity times the height (h) of the object, from the ground.” This means that the gravitational potential energy equals mgh, where the mass is the weight of the person and leather strap combined, gravity is the pull of the earth and the height is the distance from the ground to the person on the swing. Essentially, gravitational potential energy is defined in Physics, A World View as “the work that would be done by the force of gravity if an object fell from a particular point in space to the location assigned the value of zero…” (p.151). As Mark Nethercott stated, you must perform work on the swing in order to create the gravitational potential energy. Work equals the force multiplied by the distance, or in this case the height (W=fh.)
Once you achieve the gravitational potential energy through the applied work, let go of the swing. Gravity, the ever-acting force, pushes the swing down through the equilibrium and to a point equal in degrees away from the equilibrium, but opposite the point from which it was dropped. The reason the swing moves to this position is that it has the beginning gravitational potential energy, which then converts to kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the product of one-half the mass (m) times the velocity squared (v^2). KE = 1/2mv^2, where mass is once again the weight of the person and the leather strap combined, and velocity is the distance per time (m/s). The book Physics, A World View states “kinetic energy: the energy of motion. . .” (p151). According to the law of conservation of energy the gravitational potential energy pushing the person toward the earth is converted to kinetic energy as the person reaches the end of the chain’s length and moves upward.
Now A.G. LeBlanc’s answer to his question of why squatting and standing changes the period of the swing. LeBlanc explains that swinging “ . . .can be related to conservation of angular momentum, because this is a radial force and therefore does not create torque, angular momentum stays constant.” Angular momentum is defined as “a vector quantity giving the rotational momentum. For an object orbiting a point, it is the product of the linear momentum and the radius of the path, L = mvr.” (Physics, A World View p.122). In the case of angular momentum (L) and a swing, the mass is still the weight of the person and the leather strap, the velocity (v, usually measured in meters per second) and the radius (r) is the length of the chains to the bottom of the swing. A.G. Leblanc notes that the loss of momentum of inertia translates to a greater velocity, which increases the kinetic energy. LeBlanc goes on to explain that changing your center of mass and the distribution of it by standing at the point of equilibrium you have decreased the radius of the angular rotation and increased your kinetic energy at the point of maximum kinetic energy. Remember that kinetic energy is what moves you and the swing upward, so when kinetic energy is increased you achieve a point higher than the point where gravitational potential energy was highest previously. LeBlanc’s article goes on to clarify that squatting, again, redistributes your center of mass altering the necessary potential energy.
The processes of standing-squatting, pumping, and pushing are actually products of resonance and timing is a huge factor when applying it to swinging. Physics, A World View tells us “The inputs must be given at the natural frequency of the swing. If you push, pump, stand, or squat at the wrong times, your attempts will seem effortless.
When a swing can and can’t operate. As long as there is gravity, the swing will work. If you take a swing to the moon get into it, attempting to swing, you will do so. Although the force of gravity isn’t as strong, in fact only 1/6 what it is on earth, it is still present. Looking at the equation of gravitational potential energy, GPE = mgh, note that gravity is a constant in that equation and even though it is micro-gravity on the moon there is still motion. Because the gravity is smaller, the gravitational potential energy will be smaller, hence the kinetic energy, and the period of the swing will decrease as well. Where won’t a swing work? Where there is no gravity. If GPE = mgh and g = 0, then the entire equation totals zero. Gravity is the ultimate mover of the swing without it; there is no swing!
At the thought of explaining this to my two year old son, I looked down into his big brown eyes and walked over to sit in the leather strap of the swing. I guess it could
be said that it takes a lot to make one little boy happy. From changing my center of mass and determining the timing for resonance, to establishing the gravitational potential energy and the change to kinetic energy, there’s a lot of work in such a small occurrence.
LeBlanc, A.G. “It Don’t Mean A Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing” -http://aci.mta.ca/TheUmbrella/Physics/P3401/Investigations/RealSwin
Kirkpatrick, Wheeler. Physics, A World View. Orlando; Harcourt, 2001.