A simple pendulum approximates simple harmonic motion when the angle of displacement is small. There is very little change in the Period T for various small displacement angles. This is true for small angles of displacement, because the SIN(theta) when theta is small is approximately theta. This is called small angle approximation. For small angles then, most of the bob's motion is in the horizontal direction, and it's motion approximates simple harmonic motion.
The period for a real pendulum is approximately equal to 2π times the sqaure root of the ratio of the length of the chord L over the gravitational force G, i.e. T = 2π * SQRT(L/G).
Note: Since this simulation varies in speed depending on your computer, the simulated periods will not be accurate with the above formula.
Note that the period is independent of the mass of the bob.
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interactagram.com - Physics - Kinamatics - Simple Pendulum
Source Flash: pendulum.zip
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