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    A smal mass is placed on a scale pan supported by a spring. When the scale pan is displaced downwards and then released, it oscillates with s.h.m Tests show that if the amplitude of oscillation is greater than a certain value, the mass leaves the scale pan at the highest point.

    Why??
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    Because the pan will be accelerating faster than gravity thus the two bodies lose contact. If the amplitude is large, the pan needs to accelerate quickly to get between the min and max displacements in the time period of the oscillations.
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    Surely the mass leaves the scale as the pan passes upwards through equilibrium, as that's when it begins to decelerate?
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    No since acceleration/deceleration is greatest at the maximum displacements of the motion, and the acceleration/deceleration has to be greater than that of gravity for contact to be lost so this will first occur at the very top of the motion.
 
 
 
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