# Experiments With Springs

Experiments with series and parallel springs 090512
Experiments With Springs in Series and Parallel
Examples of two springs in series and in parallel are shown at the right. Assuming that all
four springs are identical – same length and same spring constant – how far will each pair
stretch? What will be the overall spring constant for the two springs combined in series?
What will be the overall spring constant for the two springs in parallel? These are some
of the questions that we want to answer about two or more combined springs.
Question 1 – What happens when a spring is cut in half? You will be provided with a
spring that you used earlier and two “half-springs” which were made by cutting one of the
original springs in half. Just as you did earlier, determine the spring constant for the
“half-spring”. The “whole-spring” is provided for comparison. Predict the value of the
spring constant if a “whole-spring” were cut into thirds.
Question 2 – How does placing two “half-springs” in series compare to a whole spring?
Is the combined spring constant of two half-springs in series the same as the spring
constant of the “whole-spring”?
Question 3 – What is the combined spring constant for placing two “whole-springs” in series? How does that
compare to the spring constant of a single “whole-spring”?
Question 4 – What is the combined spring constant for placing one “whole-spring” and one “half-spring” in series?
How does that compare to the spring constant of a single “whole-spring”?
Question 5 – What is the combined spring constant for placing two “whole-springs” in parallel? How does that
compare to the spring constant of a single “whole-spring”?
Question 6 – There are two equations that can be used to determine the combined spring constant for springs in
series and parallel. Which equation goes with which arrangement?
k(total) = k1 + k2 + k3 + …
1/k(total) = 1/k1 + 1/k2 + 1/k3 + ….
Answers to series and parallel spring questions