SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 233: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 233


A block of mass m undergoing simple harmonic motion. Frictional forces are negligible and can be ignored.

The maximum speed of the block is proportional to what quantity?

A. Amplitude
B. Frequency
C. Period
D. Position of block
E. Total mechanical energy of the block

Correct Answer: A


If A is the amplitude of the oscillations, then the maximum potential energy of the spring is kA2. When the block passes through the equilibrium position, all this energy is completely converted to kinetic energy, at which point the block has its maximum speed. Setting mv2max equal to kA2, we find that vmax = , so vmax is proportional to A.

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