SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 647: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 647


The hanging spring shown above has a mass attached to it. The spring is set in motion by displacing the mass downward and releasing it. At which point is the kinetic energy of the mass the greatest value? (Point A is the maximum compression of the spring, and Point E is the maximum expansion of the spring.)

A. Point A
B. Point B
C. Point C
D. Point D
E. Point E

Correct Answer: C


The correct answer is (C). The vibrating spring stores energy when it is compressed or stretched. The potential energy stored in the spring is converted into kinetic energy in between the two end points. The maximum kinetic energy of the mass is directly between the two high potential energy points.

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