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Accurate Clock Pendulums$
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Robert J. Matthys

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198529712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529712.001.0001

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Pendulum air movement: A failed experiment

Pendulum air movement: A failed experiment

(p.191) Chapter 28 Pendulum air movement: A failed experiment
Accurate Clock Pendulums

Robert James Matthys

Oxford University Press

A previous experiment showed that the walls of a pendulum clock case can slow down the pendulum via air drag by about 1 second per day. The pendulum has a 2-second period. This chapter describes an experiment designed to find out if the walls' drag on the pendulum could be reduced or made more constant by shaping the walls' inside surface for easier air flow. The concept basically involved rounding the square corners inside the clock case. The results show that a spherical bob had the smoothest airflow, while a large cylindrical bob disturbed the most air. There was very little, if any, air movement near the clock case walls. Any further attempt to affect the airflow should be aimed at the bob's surface-to-air interface, and not at the case walls.

Keywords:   pendulum, pendulum clock case, air drag, air movement, spherical bob, cylindrical bob

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