A Swinging Time!

Year 7 have been learning about energy transformations recently. Today they investigated the time period of a pendulum, using a plasticine bob, a piece of string, a clamp stand and a timer.

The bob was displaced a small distance to the side, at which point it had the maximum gravitational potential energy, because it was further away from the centre of the Earth. As soon as it was released, the bob began to accelerate and some of the gravitational energy was converted to kinetic energy.

At the bottom of its swing, the bob’s kinetic energy was at a maximum at its gravitational energy was at a minimum. As the bob swings upwards, its kinetic energy is transferred to gravitational potential energy again. At the top of its swing, it once again has no kinetic energy, but its gravitational potential energy is at a maximum.

Question: The bob’s swing became lower with each swing, because some energy is also transferred to the surroundings, as what kind of energy? Answers to Mr Bennett or Mrs Lobo-Clarke please.

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