Shamim, Sohaib, Wasif Zia, and Muhammad Sabieh Anwar. 2009. Investigating viscous damping using a webcam. 12 pp.
Abstract: We describe an experiment involving a mass oscillating in a viscous fluid and analyze overdamped, critically damped and underdamped regimes of harmonic motion. The mechanical oscillator is tracked using a simple webcam and an image processing algorithm records the position of the geometrical center as a function of time. Interesting information can be extracted from the displacement-time graphs, in particular for the underdamped case. For example, we use these oscillations to determine the viscosity of the fluid. Our mean value of 1.08 ±0.03 mPa s for distilled water is in good agreement with the accepted value at 20 degreesC. This experiment has been successfully employed in the freshman lab setting.
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