I'd like to study nonlinear oscillatory motion this semester. I plan to build several different mechanical systems (pendula, masses on springs, etc with and without driving forces, large/ small drag, etc) and then see how well those mechanical systems correspond to the solutions to say the Duffing equation.
While I can come up with nonlinear mechanical systems easily enough, I'm not sure about the best way to collect the data. A photogate doesn't seem like a good idea because I'm thinking if I don't havenear continuous data on position and velocity, then I'll be forced to just assume that the my equations are valid to figure out what the system was doing at each point the photogate wasn't collecting data. My next thought was a high speed camcorder. This seems like it would work fine, but my budget is pretty small for this and I don't really want to have to spend a few hundred dollars of my own money to get a camcorder.
I do have access to some of the demonstration and experimental equipment here on campus, I just need to know what I need and then my professor may be able to find one for me (no high speed camcorders, though -- I checked).
Do you guys have any other ideas as to how to collect data -- possibly with some equipment you'd expect to have at a relatively small state university physics department?
If all else fails, I'll scrap the mechanical part of this and just try to build nonlinear circuits. We have plenty of multimeters laying around.