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Accurate Clock Pendulums$
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Robert J. Matthys

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198529712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529712.001.0001

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Pendulum rod materials

Pendulum rod materials

Chapter:
(p.155) Chapter 21 Pendulum rod materials
Source:
Accurate Clock Pendulums
Author(s):

Robert James Matthys

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529712.003.0021

Over time, several different materials have been used for the pendulum rod such as steel, wood, and invar. The best material is quartz because of its proven stability and low thermal expansion. Steel is used for the pendulum rod in simple ordinary clocks because it is cheap and has relatively low thermal expansion. Wood is sometimes recommended because of its low linear thermal expansion coefficient along the grain, but it is an inherently unstable material. It warps, splits, and exhibits a high mechanical creep under load. Worst of all, wood expands and contracts considerably with relative humidity. Invar is a mixture of 36% nickel and 63% iron. It is magnetic and rusts in a humid environment. A new material of interest for the pendulum rod is carbon fibre, but it may not work too well as a pendulum rod as the epoxy absorbs moisture, changing the rod's length and weight.

Keywords:   pendulum rod, steel, wood, quartz, carbon fibre, invar, thermal expansion, stability, relative humidity

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