Static deformation of a heavy spring due to gravity and to centrifugal force

Authors: Essén, H., Nordmark, A.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: European journal of physics
Volume: 31   603-609
Year: 2010


The static equilibrium deformation of a heavy spring due to its own weight is calculated for two cases. First for a spring hanging in a constant gravitational field, then for a spring which is at rest in a rotating system where it is stretched by the centrifugal force. Two different models are considered. First a discrete model assuming a finite number of point masses connected by springs of negligible weight. Then the continuum limit of this model. In the second case the differential equation for the deformation is obtained by demanding that the potential energy is minimized. In this way a simple application of the variational calculus is obtained.