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Modelingthe Motion
to
a spring
Consider a weight attached
that is suspended from a horizontal bar
as illusfated inthe figure. Whenthe
object comes to rest uie say it is at
"equilib'rium" which is labeied 0 ou the
vertical number line. If you give the
weight apush, either up or dcwn, it will
start to move and the motion can be
modeled by sine and cosine fimctions.
The'ostiffness" of the spring and the
mass of the object affect how far tbe
object moves from the equilibrium
pcsition. The initial velocity and initial
position also affect the motion of the
spring. (We don't always start at the
equilibrium position.)

of a Spri*g

If we neglect any damping forces {air
resistance etc.) then the motion of the
spring caa be nrodeled by

x{t) =bsin(ar) + ro cos(raf)
tt)

where r(r) is the position of the object along the number line at time r. The other
quantities are constants: ar is a constant that depends on the stiftess of &e spring and
the mass of the weigtrt, vois the initial velocity, and .rois the initiat position of the object.

Model the motion of a weight on a spring:
Suppose a weight is set in motion from a position 3 centimeters below the equilibrium
position aad with a downward velocity of 4 centimeters per second. {Please note that &e
vertical number line used for position is 'lrpside dow:10'. This is a coavention from
physics and it means that positiocs below equitibrium actually correspoad to a positive
value.) Assume that the spring stiffiress and mass of the weight mean that a = 2 for this
system.

'-L
xL+)=

I In

("t+)

r3{\$(*

tJ

1) Write the function x(r)that gives the position of the weight as a function of time r
seconds. (Your function should consist of a sine term and a cosine term.)

x{4= 4s:,rPU rjtnS{P*J

in

2) Craph the separate sine and cosine components of your function from (1) on the same
set of axes. That is

\$aph x, = bsin(arr) and x, = r0 cos(o/)on the set of axes below.
a)

(Sketeh these graphs by hand and show two

full cycles.)

X,'- A I;n('rr+)
'5

xa=7bs{*1

3) Use a graphing calculator (or online graphing utility) to graph the entire firnction f,rom
part (1). Use the window settings indicated below. Sketch what you see on your
calculator display.

xmin = 0

xmax:2tr
xscl

= f,

ymin:

-5

ymax = 5

yscl:

1

I

-l

4) Write an equation for your calculator graph in the form x(t)=lcos[A(r-C)]. (Use
B,
and C. I expect to see decimal approximations for these values.)

d

s be t

te s

[4(* - ,dq+)]

5) How are the graphs from part 2) related to the graph in part 3)? Are the values for
period and amplitude the same or different? Why do you think we see these results?

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'Th*
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gr,.gh

'L

ll,;,1i" urr 5'e,r 'Ltu.t, {rsg"./ti br i**>e LA/e {ir€ *,i};^i
{i-i*'rr{ rfi,ui*ej la_yt\et tr,i++r'n 6r [{u/ \$u,flt. ft t-,:,r&,'roJ y*up},"

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Sln*
Part

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r5 et-

II:

6) Prove that the following is an identity (A is a positive constant) by filling in the blanks

below

:
:

AsnSsin{att) + ,4 cos/cos(arr)

:

4t-g:*{, >;*{,",:r} +Lus*{*,fui

4 ferr # t

csl'w

Afcos(ot) cos

= Acos{att

- d)

tlrl;,n

&

S;

*L*

/ + sin(ar) sin /]

fFactor out

A

I Commutative Proper{y

of

Commutative Property

of

Multinlicatioa
Diffsrence identity for
cosine

Part III:
Rewrite an expression of the form

sin(or)+Q

o
@

ct
cz

l,

= Asin/ =
=

Acos/

sinlarr; + lT cos dlcos(a/) in terms of a cosine function:

cos(ott)=

sinp =c'

I

Al

= *rO =X)

.c,-t
-

tafiQ

c2

is the amplitude of the cosine firnction arld

{,

o'phi", is called the phase
angle and is

Example: Write 4sin3r + 2cos3l in terrns of a cosine function.

il
/

R=

I A: a{{
t.n / = **

=t"d't (.)

!

n

/
4sin3t + ?.cos3tr tscos (t{ * \, \*)

{ieil*r

l\,,

t\-

a-

e{6"r'frtr-o,1n)]

tr \.\?-

"a.* '"*d* :

7) Rewrite ybur fimction from part 1) in terms of a cosine function: Aoos{*tt

x[+J

A=J@

(il^

:@

v1

ta,t?=

p

=

\$

I

ks
Ls>

_ .t i.j

il= .59t

*\$). Show

,

Lan-'e)

fix ,5gg

8) Compare your fimction from part 4) and part 7). What do you observe? \$/rite a one or
two sentenee explanation.

--:l

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