# Pendulum Frequency Calculator

Table of contents

What is a pendulum? How does a pendulum work?How to calculate the frequency of a simple pendulum: frequency of oscillationThe frequency of a pendulum formula for greater initial amplitudesA couple of examples of frequencies of a simple pendulumMore than the frequency: pendulum calculators for all your needsFAQsOur frequency of a pendulum calculator is a handy tool with one purpose: to teach you how to find the frequency of oscillation of a pendulum in the easiest way possible.

If you already know the equation for the frequency of a pendulum, head directly to our tool. But if you are in for some science, keep reading our article. Here you will learn:

- What is a pendulum, and how does it operate;
- How to calculate the frequency of a pendulum: formula for small oscillations;
- The problems of bigger oscillations;
- Examples of frequencies of a pendulum.

## What is a pendulum? How does a pendulum work?

Pendulums are simple devices made of — mostly — a **weight and a rope**, free to **swing** around a **pivot**. From the moment scientists developed an interest in pendulums, the devices showed that in such a simple construction, we can find traces of many physical phenomena and, not to forget, the key to keeping track of time before electronics became our choice.

## How to calculate the frequency of a simple pendulum: frequency of oscillation

A simple pendulum only considers the **force of gravity** acting on the device. In the first analysis of such a pendulum, we often assume that the device completes **small oscillations**. For small oscillations, we use the approximation $\sin{(x)}\approx x$, where $x$ is an angle $x\ll1\ \text{rad}$.

In this approximation, the **formula for the frequency of a pendulum** is:

Where:

- $f$ is the
**frequency of the pendulum**, measured in**hertz**; - $g$ is the
**acceleration due to gravity**; and - $l$ is the
**length of the swing**.

The story changes a bit when you swing your pendulum far from the resting position.

## The frequency of a pendulum formula for greater initial amplitudes

You know how to find the frequency of oscillations of a pendulum for small initial angles. However, when the angle at which you release the swing is bigger than, let's say, $10\degree$, the small angle approximation fails.

If you want to know how to find the frequency of a pendulum for any value of the initial angle, you need to apply the following formula:

This is not a straightforward formula, and it's rarely used outside of the academic world. We included it in our pendulum frequency calculator for completeness, but as a general rule, consider the approximate result.

## A couple of examples of frequencies of a simple pendulum

You know how to find the frequency of oscillation of a pendulum: let's put this knowledge to test with a couple of examples.

Build a pendulum with swing length $1\ \text{m}$: what will be the frequency of oscillation of such device?

This is, for sure, one hell of a coincidence! An $1\ \text{m}$ long pendulum completes an oscillation in **almost exactly** $2\ \text{s}$. The length of the swing in pendulum clocks doesn't determine the time tracking capabilities of the device since the internal gearing can be engineered to obtain, at one point, a "ticking" at the desired $1\ \text{s}$. However, if we can have a *tick... tock* synchronized to the time we are tracking, we all feel better!

#### Using the equation for the frequency of a pendulum to find pi

Pendulums are versatile, but did you know that you can use them to measure $\pi$ and only use a stopwatch? Let's think about how to perform this experiment. First, which length of a pendulum's swing would return a frequency $f = \tfrac{1}{\pi}$ — corresponding to a complete oscillation in $\pi$ seconds?

Use our pendulum frequency calculator if you want to check the math, or grab a rope and measure your own $\pi$!

## More than the frequency: pendulum calculators for all your needs

Calculating the frequency of a pendulum is just one of the possible calculations you can perform on a pendulum: visit our other **pendulum calculators**:

- The
**simple pendulum calculator**; - The
**pendulum period calculator**; and - The
**physical pendulum calculator**.

### How do I find the frequency of a pendulum?

To find the frequency of a pendulum in the small angle approximation, use the following formula:

`f = (1/2π) × sqrt(g/l)`

Where you can identify three quantities:

- $f$ — The frequency;
- $g$ — The acceleration due to gravity; and
- $l$ — The length of the pendulum's swing.

### What are the factors affecting the frequency of a pendulum?

A pendulum's frequency depends on three factors. In order of importance, these are:

- The length of the swing. The longer the pendulum, the lower the frequency;
- The acceleration due to gravity. A stronger acceleration reduces the period; and
- The initial angle of oscillation.

For small initial amplitudes, we can exclude the effect of the angle on the duration of the swing. Moreover, `g`

varies at most of `1%`

between any pair of points. This leaves us only with the length of the swing.

### What is the frequency of a pendulum with swing length 25 cm?

Approximately `1 Hz`

, which means that the pendulum completes a back-and-forth movement in a second. To calculate the result, apply the formula for the frequency of a pendulum:

`f = (1/2π) × sqrt(g/l) = (1/2π) × sqrt(g/0.25) = 0.997 Hz`

### Why does the mass doesn't affect the frequency of a pendulum?

Surprisingly, the mass of a pendulum's bob doesn't appear in the formulas: the situation resembles the one we study in a free-fall motion, where the acceleration remains constant, but the force acting on falling bodies varies greatly with mass.