The term pendulum has its etymological origin in pendulus, a Latin word that can be translated as “pending”. A pendulum is a oscillating object, hanging from another. For instance: “The movement the pendulum managed to calm me down and finally I was able to fall asleep “, “When the thread was cut, the pendulum fell heavily against the ground and broke into a thousand pieces”, “I like the sound of pendulum clocks”.

As a system of the physical, a pendulum implies the oscillation of a body thanks to certain characteristics and the action of different forces. According to the oscillation, a pendulum can be used to measure time or other issues.

A pendulum clock, therefore, it is one that uses a pendulum to measure the step of the weather. This oscillation is constant thanks to the length of the pendulum, while the clock itself must not move so that it does not lose accuracy. Generally, the pendulum clock has a mechanism that allows it to emit a sound every hour or other time period.

The metronomes they are also devices that can appeal to a pendulum to measure the time of a musical work. Thanks to the fact that it emits certain signals (either sound or otherwise), a musician can follow the pendulum of the metronome to maintain the same rhythm in the execution of a melody.

Several pendulums are named after the scientist who designed it for a purpose or purpose, or the thinker who is honored with their construction. In this sense, one can speak of Newton’s pendulum (with five balls that act as pendulums to demonstrate how the Energy), the Charpy pendulum (seeking to show the tenacity of something) or the Foucault pendulum (spherical in shape, oscillates freely in a vertical type plane).

Newton’s pendulum

Also know as crib Newton, it is a device which aims to show that momentum and energy can be conserved. It is made up of a group of balls (usually there are five), each one held by two threads that cling to a frame that acts as a support. The balls must be perfectly aligned on the horizontal axis and make contact with the adjacent one (s) when they are not in motion.

Since the threads form two identical angles, if we observe the spheres from a perspective in which they go out to the sides, the movement is restricted to a single axis (which could be described as Back and forth). To put it into operation, just take one of the two balls that are at the ends, move it a few centimeters away from its adjacent one and release it to start the movement.

Foucault pendulum

It is a spherical pendulum capable of swinging freely for several hours on any vertical plane and serves as a demonstration of the rotation of our planet. It received this name in honor of its creator, Léon Foucault, a physicist from France who lived between 1819 and 1868.

The Foucault pendulum consists of a heavy sphere (some examples exceed several hundred kilograms) attached to an extensive metal thread. The theory is that the plane of oscillation is altering according to the rotation of the Earth, so that a constant modification in its trajectory can be observed as a result of this phenomenon. While in some parts of the world its complete turn can exceed 50 hours, in the poles it takes exactly 24.

Charpy pendulum

This pendulum enjoys less popularity than the previous two, although that does not at all reflect the genius behind its creation. It is a device used to determine the tenacity of materials, that is, how much energy they absorb before breaking. It consists of a pendulum that is dropped on a test tube to break it; the values ​​of starting height and final They are used to calculate said value of absorbed energy.