Coupled Air Track Gliders

Purpose

To demonstrate coupled oscillations and normal modes in a system of two identical coupled air track gliders.

Equipment

Air track with four gliders and three soft springs.

Setup Time

5 min.

Images

g2-26

Description

Two moveable air track gliders are connected by three springs to fixed gliders (at each end). Pushing one of the gliders causes motion which rapidly couples back and forth between the two gliders. The two normal modes can be excited by giving the two gliders the same displacements, either (1) in phase, or (2) out of phase, before releasing them from rest simultaneously.

References

Novel Experiments in Physics: Coupled Linear Oscillator, University of Minnesota - Duluth. Franklin Miller, Jr., A Laboratory Experiment With Coupled Linear Oscillators, AJP 20, 23-25, (1952).