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Use Hooke's Law to Carry Out Calculations

In this worksheet, students will review Hooke's Law, and use it to carry out calculations related to stretching materials.

'Use Hooke's Law to Carry Out Calculations' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Year:  Year 9 Science worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Physics: Motion and Forces

Curriculum subtopic:   Forces

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

Imagine pulling on a spring. When you apply a force, it will stretch and extend. In fact, the amount of force will affect the extension of the spring. 




If you double the force on the spring, the extension will double. Why? Because springs are an example of a material that follows Hooke's Law. Let's learn about Hooke's Law, and practise using it in calculations. 


Hooke's Law states that, for certain materials, the extension of the material is directly proportional to the force acting on the material. So, if we double the force, we double the extension. If we triple the force, we triple the extension.



Someone applies 3 Newtons of force when they stretch a spring. The spring extends by 4 cm. What would the extension of the spring be if a force of 6 Newtons was applied instead?


stretching a spring



In this situation, the spring is experiencing double the force, so it must extend by double the amount. 

4 cm × 2 = 8 cm


We can express Hooke's Law, just like many other proportional relationships, with an equation. 


Force = Spring Constant × Extension

Or, simplified, 

F = k × e


F stands for force and is measured in Newtons (N)

k stands for spring constant and is measured in Newtons per metre (N/m)

e stands for extension and is measured in metres.


What does 'spring constant' mean?


boy with question marks


The spring constant is a measure of how stretchy a material is. The spring constant is a number that is different for each material.

The greater the spring constant, the harder it is to stretch a material. The smaller the spring constant, the easier it is to stretch. 



 A material has a spring constant of 0.6 N/m. It has an extension of 0.2 m. What is the force on the material?





First, we write down the equation. Then, we substitute in the values that we know. 

F = k × e

F = 0.6 N/m × 0.2 m = 0.12 N


We can also rearrange the equation for Hooke's law, for situations when we want to calculate the spring constant, or the extension, instead. 





 What is the spring constant for a stretchy material, if it experiences a force of 2.5 Newtons, and extends by 8 cm?



We actually have to convert the extension from cm to m before we do anything else!

8 cm ÷ 100 = 0.08 m


Now we can use the rearranged equation. 


k = 2.5 N ÷ 0.08 m = 31.25 N/m


Now that we have seen Hooke's Law in action, let's try some practice questions!

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