SIMPLE PENDULUM

Asked by  | 17th Jul, 2009, 07:18: AM

Expert Answer:

A pendulam clock may use a simple mechanical pendulam as well as an electromechanical pendulam. Of course due to various constraints inaccuracies tend to creep in a mechanical pendulam. Some of the improvisations for removing these effects are:

1.Local gravity

Since the pendulum rate will increase with an increase in gravity, and local gravity varies with latitude and location on Earth, pendulum clocks must be readjusted to keep time after a move. Even moving a clock to the top of a tall building will cause it to lose measureable time due to lower gravity.

 

 

2.Thermal compensation

To keep time accurately, pendulums are usually made to not vary in length as the temperature changes. Owing to the expansion of metal, the length of a simple pendulum will vary with temperature, slowing the clock as the temperature rises. Early high-precision clocks used the liquid metal mercury to lift a portion of the pendulum mass in compensation for the increased length of the suspension. John Harrison invented the gridiron pendulum, which uses a sliding "banjo" of solid metals with differing thermal expansion rates such as brass or zinc and steel to achieve a zero-expansion pendulum while avoiding the use of toxic mercury.

 3.Atmospheric drag

The viscosity of the air through which the pendulum swings will vary with atomspheric pressure, humidity, and temperature. This drag also requires power that could otherwise be applied to extending the time between windings. Pendulums are sometimes polished and streamlined to reduce the effects of air drag (which is where most of the driving power goes) on the clock's accuracy. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, pendulums for clocks in astronomical observatories were often operated in a chamber that had been pumped to a low pressure to reduce drag and make the pendulum's operation even more accurate.

Answered by  | 18th Jul, 2009, 09:07: AM

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