A simple pendulum is a mass hanging from a massless string of length L swinging from a central pivot point. As the mass is pulled out at a small angle theta and released, the mass will swing back and forth in periodic motion. This example problem will show how to calculate the period of a simple pendulum.
The period of a simple pendulum refers to the time it takes for the mass to complete one complete cycle of its swinging motion. This time can be calculated using the formula
T = period
L = length of the pendulum
g = acceleration due to gravity
Simple Pendulum Period Example Problem
Question: What is the period of a simple pendulum with a length of 1 meter?
Use 9.8 m/s2 for gravity
Solution: Start with the period of a simple pendulum formula.
Plug in the values for L and g
T = 2π (0.32 s)
T = 2.0 s
Answer: The period of a simple pendulum with a length of 1 meter is 2.0 seconds.
Completing this type of problem relies on knowing the formula. The easiest way to make a mistake is mixing your units. For example, if this problem gave the length in centimeters, you would have to convert centimeters to meters to get the correct answer.