But why does it work? The answer may seem obvious On this page I take a look at a qualitative explanation for the operation of a swing suspended by a single rope or chain on each side. A swing suspended by rigid rods, such as a typical lawn swing, is a little different in its principle of operation, though exactly the same motions will work to get it going.
Swinging Physics: Potential And Kinetic Energy Working Together
The Physics of Swinging a Mass on a String for Fun | WIRED
Occasionally there are physics lab demonstrations that I think are pretty awesome but that my students just think are "meh. The basic idea in this demo, which I used in my class at Southeastern Louisiana University, is to swing a mass around in a horizontal circle. But wait! There's a cooler part: By running the string through a vertical tube and attaching it to another mass, we can control the tension in the string. It's loads of fun.
Swinging with a Pendulum
We start from rest and then begin to pump our legs. This helps us build momentum which makes the swing take us higher. Opposing this force is gravity which pulls the swing back toward the ground on its downward path. At the two peaks, the swinger has potential energy and when the swing is in motion, the swinger has kinetic energy.
But what happens if the person who pushed you walks away, and you want to swing faster and higher. Just start pumping your legs—stretching them forward then drawing them up underneath you—and you can make yourself swing higher. Have you ever wondered why this is? Swings work by converting potential energy into kinetic energy, then kinetic energy back into potential energy, over and over again.