9 Real Life Examples Of Pendulum Uses

Understanding pendulum physics is important in order to understand motion, gravity, inertia, and centripetal force. Let us see the examples of pendulum uses in our surroundings. 

Following are the examples of pendulum uses:

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: Stündle (modification Ideophagous), Pendulum-no-text, CC BY-SA 4.0

A playground swing:

The majority of children have been on swings since they were able to walk, whether it was in an infant swing at home, a toddler swing at a playground, or on a swing set in their garden. Here, in this case, the child acts as a mass suspended by the ropes on both sides of the attached seat of the swing, which can move freely once the motion is set. This motion can be initiated by taking a swing a little backward with the help of the leg and then releasing it.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: Stilfehler, Playground swings, CC BY-SA 3.0


Depending on the clock’s age and style, a huge pendulum or a quartz crystal vibrates to keep time. A pendulum is used to maintain the accuracy of a mechanical clock. The length of the pendulum and the force of gravity both influence the time it takes for the pendulum to swing, which is referred to as the period.

In order to operate a gear system, the top end of the pendulum’s arm is attached to a mechanism, while the bottom end is connected to the ground. The gears are responsible for driving the hands of the clock. Friction causes a little amount of the pendulum’s motion to be lost; this is compensated for by a wind-up spring or weights. Because they are in Simple Harmonic Motion, the oscillators have a constant period of oscillation.

This enables them to maintain an accurate track of time. This precise moment is important for more than simply convenience.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits:David R. Tribble Google Photos, Clock-JungHans-6932, CC BY-SA 3.0

Amusement park rides:

Now, the pendulum uses can be seen in the sea dragon or the huge boat swing at the amusement park. Keep in mind that a pendulum is made up of an object with a bob that is hanging from the end of a rod or string, allowing the object to freely swing in the opposite direction. Newton’s first rule states that an element at rest will remain at rest (if there is no outside interference), which means that a motor must be used to lift the amusement park ride into the air.

Then gravity takes over and brings the ride back to the ground. The ride is pushed forward by inertia, which keeps it moving. With the aid of inertia and gravity, the ride rises and falls in elevation. Friction, which is provided by the brakes, is the only item that can bring the ride to a complete stop.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=108465&picture=amusement-park-ride

Foucault’s pendulum:

To tell the time, a Foucault pendulum is used independently of any other device. It’s commonly constructed with a large metal ball that’s linked to a lengthy cable. In order for the pendulum to be able to swing freely in any vertical plane, the wire must be suspended from a vantage point on the ceiling. When the ball is safely released, it swings back and forth, but as time passes, the Earth’s rotation alters the direction of the swing.

In one day, the pendulum will swing around the poles and complete a full round on the ground. At the equator, the Earth has no effect on it; it will continue to swing in the same direction indefinitely. At intermediate locations, it will cover a portion of a circle in a single day, with the amount of time covering the circle increasing with latitude. Given enough information about the latitude, the location of the pendulum may be used to determine the current time of day.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: Daniel Sancho from Málaga, Spain, Foucault pendulum closeup, CC BY-SA 2.0


A metronome is a device that creates rhythmic ticks in order to assist musicians in maintaining a consistent tempo when playing a composition. In this case, the structure is a variant of the pendulum. The oscillating arm is fastened at the bottom of the frame in this instance. Within the metronome, a fixed counterweight is used to counterbalance a second weight that is attached to the oscillating arm.

The period may be adjusted by moving the counterweight up and down the arm, so altering how quickly the metronome oscillates. Gravity, acting on the fixed counterweight, serves as the restoring force in this instance. The closer the weight is to the bottom of the arm, the faster the arm will swing and create ticks, and the more ticks it will generate.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: Paco from Badajoz, España, Wittner metronome, CC BY 2.0

Bungee jumping:

In this technique, a long, elastic rope is linked to the ankles of a person, who then hops off a bridge or a platform, causing a number of vertical oscillations to be generated. A very precise calculation is made to determine the amplitude of the oscillations since a calculation error might result in the loss of a life. To avoid harm, this sport should only be practised with the utmost safety measures possible.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: “Bungee Jumping I” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Tambako the Jaguar

Diving board:

This oscillating system is referred to as a cantilever, which itself is described as a rigid structure that is only fixed at one end. SHM is performed on the diving board and the person on the edge of it as he or she hops up and down on the end of the diving board’s end cape.

Several factors influence this motion, including the force constant of the board (a stronger board would not oscillate as much) and the weight of the person on the board (The amplitude of oscillation will be increased in proportion to the weight of the individual.)

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1178859

Wrecking ball:

A wrecking ball, which is used to demolish structures, is yet another example of pendulum motion. After securing the wrecking ball with a sturdy cable and guiding it toward the structure to be demolished, a skilled crane operator swings and releases the wrecking ball. Energy is accumulated throughout the upswing and released when the ball makes contact with an object.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: “Wrecking Ball” (CC BY 2.0) by compujeramey

Human legs:

Even your own legs respond in a similar manner to pendulums. In fact, allowing your legs to swing at their natural velocity when walking is the most effective method of transportation. How long it takes your leg to accomplish its back and forth movement is determined by the length of your legs. That’s why people with long legs sometimes appear to meander around, while people with short legs appear to walk quickly.

Image Credits: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/833346?utm_content=shareClip&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pxhere

Ballistic pendulum:

A ballistic pendulum is a huge block of wood that is suspended from ropes and has been in use by police agencies for many years. The weight of the wood may be calculated with precision. A technician shoots a bullet through the wall of the building. The bullet embeds itself in it, causing it to go into action. The bullet’s momentum and energy are represented by the point at which it swings backwards the furthest. Using the bullet’s mass and velocity, the technician may then calculate the bullet’s velocity.

Pendulum Uses

Image Credits: Steven Keys, Ballistic pendulum, CC BY 4.0

To summarize, A pendulum is simply a weight that is suspended from a pivot and allows it to swing freely. When a pendulum is pulled sideways from its resting, equilibrium position, gravity exerts a restoring force on it, forcing it to swing back to its resting, equilibrium position. The restoring force acting on the pendulum’s mass causes it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging in both directions, once it is liberated.

The period is the length of time it takes for a whole cycle to finish, which includes both a left and right swing. The length of a pendulum and, to a lesser degree, the amplitude, or width of the pendulum’s swing, define the period of the pendulum. Above examples of pendulum uses explains how the science of pendulum is being used in real life.

Prajakta Gharat

I am Prajakta Gharat. I have completed Post Graduation in physics in 2020. Currently I am working as a Subject Matter Expert in Physics for Lambdageeks. I try to explain Physics subject easily understandable in simple way.

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