Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Physics of Playground Swings

Sign in to follow this  


When I was younger, I loved swinging on the playground swings. I always tried to go as high as possible because it made me go faster when at my lowest point, which was an exhilarating feeling. What I didn't understand then I understand now when considering the physics behind it. If you set your reference level at the lowest point of the swing, then when you first get on the swing, you have no mechanical energy. Then, when someone applies a force to you, they do work on you, causing you to accelerate and travel to a higher level. The work that they do in pushing you increases the mechanical energy of the system. The more work that they do to you, the more mechanical energy they add to the system. Since mechanical energy is conserved in a closed system, the potential energy at your highest point equals your kinetic energy at your lowest point. Therefore, the higher you are able to go, the more kinetic energy you will have at your lowest point, which means that you will travel at a higher velocity at the bottom of your swing. 

Sign in to follow this  

1 Comment

Recommended Comments

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

  • Create New...