SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 222: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 222


A block is attached to the end of a linear spring, the other end of which is anchored to a wall. The block is oscillating between extreme positions X and Y on a frictionless table, and when the block is at Point O, the spring is at its natural length. The value of the spring’s force constant, k, is known, but the mass of the block, m, is unknown.

Knowing which one of the following would permit you to calculate the value of m ?

A. The acceleration of the block at Point O
B. The acceleration of the block at Point Y
C. The speed of the block as it passes through O
D. The distance between X and Y
E. The time required for the block to travel from X to Y

Correct Answer: E


The frequency of the oscillations, f, can be found from the equation f = . Since k is known, all we need is f in order to calculate m. If we know the quantity given in E, we can double it to get the period, then take its reciprocal to obtain f.

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