Postprint version. Published in The Physics Teacher, Volume 38, Issue 8, November 1, 2000, pages 489-492.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1119/1.1329093.
Student understanding of the superposition of perpendicular harmonic oscillators can be enhanced using a spark generator to record position-versus-time data for smallamplitude pendulum motion in two dimensions. Our students have used this arrangement to analyze the motion of a spherical pendulum and a “Y-suspended” (Blackburn) pendulum that has two effective lengths.
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