Spring Constant -> Create second order equation


Hooke's law tells you that $$F = -k x$$ and Newton's second law, that $$F = ma = m\ddot{x}.$$

Putting these pieces together you get that $$m\ddot{x} = -kx$$ or $$10\ddot{x} = -40x,$$ which is the second-order equation you wanted. To solve it, you need a pair of initial conditions, which the problem provides you: $x(0) = 0$ (since the initial position is $0$) and $\dot{x}(0) = 2.5$ (I'm assuming the push gives it a velocity in the direction of increasing distention; the problem really should be more precise.) If you need help solving the ODE, you can ask, but first show the work of your attempt.


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Updated on August 01, 2022


  • Mhsmith21
    Mhsmith21 over 1 year

    The Problem:

    A frictionless spring with a 10-kg mass can be held stretched 1 meters beyond its natural length by a force of 40 newtons. If the spring begins at its equilibrium position, but a push gives it an initial velocity of 2.5 m/sec, find the position of the mass after t seconds.

    How do I convert this to a second order equation and then solve it?

    Spring constant would be 40nm = k * 1 meter -> k = 40



    10x'' + 40x = 0, when x(0) = 1 and x'(0) = 2.5
    10r^2 + 40 = 0
    10r^2 = -40
    r^2 = -4
    r = +- 2i
    y  = Acos(2x) + Bsin(2x) = homogenous solution
    y' = -2Asin(2x) + 2Bcos(2x)
    1 = Acos(2*0) + Bsin(2*0) = A
    2.5 = -2Asin(2*0) + 2bcos(2*0) = 2B
    y = cos(2x) + 5/4sin(2x)
  • Mhsmith21
    Mhsmith21 almost 10 years
    I think I did it, can you verify my setup please
  • user7530
    user7530 almost 10 years
    Looks good to me!