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Experiments: static and dynamic loads

Your first experiments are based on a rubber band spring.

Your first experiments are based on a rubber band spring. You’ll learn about creep, load-deflection curves and bounce.

You will also see how we split Engineering Mechanics into ‘Statics’ and ‘Dynamics’. Textbooks generally come in two separate volumes, one for each.

There are those who say that it’s all Dynamics really, and what we call statics is just Dynamics where the accelerations are all zero. But we think Statics and Dynamics are different enough to justify the split.

But are Statics and Dynamics so clearly differentiated from one another?

Notice that there are situations where accelerations definitely exist, but where we can ignore them for all practical purposes. As an extreme example, there are accelerations when the bands creep, but these miniscule accelerations don’t affect the forces significantly. This is what you might call quasi-static, that is, we know there are accelerations but we can still treat the situation as though it were static.

We hope you’ll try the experiments yourself – get hands-on experience. This one’s simple enough. Why not give it a go?

You can download instructions to the experiment in the Downloads section below.

Talking points

  • Did you see how simple experiments can give you insights? After all, physical reality is physical reality, however you look at it.
  • Did you work out why a chain of bands produces a larger deflection than a single band?
  • What else did you notice in the video?
  • Which of the experiments did you try and what did you find?

Share your experiment

If you attempt the experiment, take a photo and upload it to our Through Engineers’ Eyes Padlet wall. You can include a link to your photo in the comments for this step (click on your post on the Padlet wall and then copy the web address).

If you don’t have access to a camera, we encourage you to still do the activity and write a description of your experiment on the Padlet wall.

For a guide to using Padlet, please see FutureLearn’s social media help page.

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Through Engineers' Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design

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