Student Manual

A paradigmatic physical system is the physical pendulum is experimentally studied using the acceleration and rotation. A smart phone sensor is used to analyze a vertical pendulum, which is in fact a bicycle wheel. The sensors used in the experiment include the smartphone’s inbuilt gyroscope and accelerometer. Gyroscope is used to measure angular velocity of the wheel while the accelerometer is used to measure the linear acceleration of wheel. A smartphone is fixed to the outside of a bicycle wheel whose axis is kept horizontal and fixed. The compound system, wheel plus smartphone, defines a physical pendulum which can rotate, giving full turns in one direction, or oscillate about its equilibrium position (performing either small or large oscillations). Measurements of the radial and tangential acceleration and the angular velocity obtained with smartphone sensors allows a deep insight into the dynamics of the system.

Sample ResultsPhase space of angular velocity and angular acceleration
Plot of angular velocity vs time
Combined plot of radial acceleration with angular velocity
Experiment Code5.5

Further Readings and References

  • Phase space
    Exploring phase space using smartphone acceleration and rotation sensors simultaneously , Martín Monteiro, Cecilia Cabeza and Arturo C Martí , European Journal of Physics, Volume 35 , (2014).

Pictorial Procedure