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Lets pick up where we left off last time..

the topic was gravitational potential energy Now, lets talk about a second form of energy

Potential energy
Imagine you are standing on top of half dome in Yosemite valley, holding a rock in your hand. The rock has no kinetic energy, but if you threw it off the cliff it would have quite a bit of kinetic energy by the time it hit the valley oor. We say that the rock has potential energy. If m is the mass of the rock and h the height above ground, the potential energy of the rock is

PE = mgh
Physics 190E: Energy & Society Fall 2007

What is g here?
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Recall also the reading assignment.

Reading assignment in textbook - chapter 3 - work, energy & power

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g is known as the gravitational constant. It measures the strength of the Earths gravitational pull on falling objects. Galileo demonstrated that all objects fall the same way. If two objects are dropped from the same height at the same time, then they will hit the ground at the same time (as long as other forces like air resistance are negligible). Falling objects accelerate downwards at a rate of

g = 9.8 m / s 2
Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity with time. So, the units of acceleration are the units for velocity divided by another factor of time.

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More on acceleration & related physics

2007 Ferrari F430

Weight: 3196 lb (1450 kg) Acceleration: 0-62 mph in 4.0s Top Speed:>196 mph (>315 km/h) Fuel Economy city/highway 11/16 mpg
Lets calculate its acceleration in meters/(second)2
2007 Toyota Prius

0-60 mph in 10s 60mpg(city), 50mpg(hway)

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Basic physics result - if an object starts at rest at time t=0 and accelerates with a constant acceleration, its velocity increases linearly with time.

v = a! t

If we want to gure out the acceleration, we can rewrite this as

a = v /t
The car accelerates, reaching a velocity of v=62 mph = 28 m/s in t=4 s, which gives

a = (28 ms ) /(4 s) = 7 ms
Physics 190E: Energy & Society Fall 2007



A little bit smaller than the gravitational acceleration of g=9.8m/s2

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While were talking about acceleration, lets introduce another piece of basic physics Newtons 2nd law.

F = m! a
Force equals mass times acceleration. If there is a net force on an object, it will accelerate. Conversely, if something is accelerating, there must be a force on it. Back to gravitythe gravitational force (at the earths surface) is

F = m! g
This is your weight. The force that a scale pushes up on your feet with to counterbalance gravity.
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Setting these two expressions equal, we see that the mass cancels giving

independent of the mass of the object.
Physics 190E: Energy & Society Fall 2007

The fact that the masses are the same in these two equations has very deep signicance in physics. This equivalence principle led Einstein to his theory of gravity - general relativity - in which the gravitational force is a manifestation of the curvature of spacetime. The mass in Newtons 2nd law (F=ma) is known as the inertial mass, while the mass in the gravitational force law (F=mg) is known as the gravitational mass. The equivalence principle has been demonstrated experimentally to one part in a trillion

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Finally, back to gravitational potential energy

We can check that potential energy indeed has the units of energy

PE = mgh
If the mass is measured in kilograms and the height in meters then the units of potential energy work out to be

kg ! ( ms ) ! m = kg ! m ! s = Joules



Recall these units came out naturally from the formula for Kinetic energy 1/2 mv2

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We can also check that falling objects satisfy conservation of energy. If we drop something from a height D at time t=0, then its position and velocities as functions of time are given by

1 2 h ( t ) = D ! gt 2

v ( t ) = ! gt

Now, lets calculate the total energy as a function of time.

1 E = KE + PE = mv ( t ) 2 + mgh ( t ) 2
The result is actually independent of time and equal to the initial potential energy, demonstrating conservation of energy.

1 1 2 2 E = (! gt ) + mg(D ! gt ) = mgD 2 2
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A practical application of gravitational potential energy How to store energy without a battery?

Well see that one problem with electricity is that its difcult to store. Batteries are only practical for relatively small amounts of energy. How do you store more massive quantities? One way is to use it to lift up water and convert the electrical energy to gravitational potential energy. This is called pumped storage hydroelectricity.

The Northeld Mountain pumped storage hydroelectric plant - operated by First Light Power Resources - is located in Northeld, MA about 20 minutes north of campus (up route 63).

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The 1080 MegaWatt plant at Northeld Mountain facility opened in 1972 and was the largest in the world at that time. During periods of low demand, water is pumped 5.5 miles from the Connecticut river to a 300 acre reservoir, 800 feet above the river, which holds 5.6 billion gallons of water. In generating mode, water ows downhill through 4 turbine generators at a rate of 20,000 gallons per second.

Possible paper topic

Info from

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Thermal Energy So far, weve talked about two forms of energy - kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy. Now, well introduce a 3rd thermal energy. We will try to understand what it means for something to be hot and how much energy it takes to heat something up? Well see that for a gas, like the air in this room, thermal energy is just the sum of the kinetic energies of the individual gas molecules. Understanding the mechanical equivalence of heat - that mechanical energy could be transformed into heat and vice-versa - was a major achievement of 19th century physics. This effort was closely tied to the industrial revolution and the need to understand how things like steam engines (which convert heat into mechanical energy) work

Read Chapter 7

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A good way to start into this subject is to talk about the amount of energy it takes to heat something up?

One way to talk about this is just to give it a name .. The British Thermal Unit (or BTU) is dened as 1 BTU = amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree farenheit.

We already have another unit of energy - the Joule. We need to know how many Joules does a BTU correspond to? This is a question for experimentalists?

Frigidaire 6000 BTU Air Conditioner

Really this means BTU/hour - a measure of the cooling capacity of the air conditioner

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This was a question that interested James Joule, himself.

Of course, at the time the mechanical unit of energy in use was not the Joule. It was the foot-pound. Before coming back to Joules work, lets take yet another detour into units and talk about the footpound as a measure of energy. This will allow us to bring up another important point about energy.
James Joule, 1818-1889

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The usual denition of energy given in introductory physics textbooks is .

energy = capacity to do work

Of course, to complete the denition we need to ask what physicists mean by work?

If you sit in the library reading a book for a course, are you doing work in the physics sense?

In physics work means very specically exerting a force through a distance, with the direction of motion in the same direction as the force.

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This part about directions is important . An elevator does work when it takes us between oors, because the force it exerts is in the same direction as its motion - up.

However, if someone is walking along carrying something, they are not doing any work (at least on the object they are carrying) in the physics sense there is no force in the direction of motion. The force is upwards, while the direction of motion is forwards. This makes sense because in the rst case, the elevator goes up and the work it does increases the potential energy of itself and whoever is inside. However, in carrying water, the water is always staying at the same height.

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So long as the force and motion are in the same direction, the formula for work is W = (Force)(Distance) = F D The foot-pound combines a unit of force - a pound -with a unit of distance - a foot - and is thereby a unit of work or energy. 1 foot-pound is the amount of work that must be done to raise a 1 pound weight by 1 foot. This also gives the change in potential energy of the 1 pound weight.

Note: Pounds are used both as a measure of force and of mass, which can be confusing. A pound-mass is the amount of mass that weighs 1 pound on the surface of the Earth. However, on the surface of the moon it would weigh something less than a pound. When we make a conversion 1 pound = 2.2 kilograms, we are really talking about the pound-mass.

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Yet another unit..the SI unit for force is called the Newton.

1Newton = 1N = 1( ki log ram )( meter ) / (sec ond )2

This makes sense, based on the equation

F = m! a
The unit of force is the unit of mass times the unit of acceleration. Lets check that work has the same dimensions as energy. Work equals force times distance. So a unit of work is a Newton-meter. 1 Newton-meter = 1 (kg m s-2) m = 1 kg m2/s2=1 Joule

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Back to Joule and the mechanical equivalent of heat Joule built an apparatus in which water was heated by mechanical agitation. He could measure both the temperature change in the water and the amount of work done by the agitator.

Recall that 1 BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by 1 degree farenheit. Joule found that 1 BTU = 773 foot-pounds. The modern measurement is 1 BTU = 778.3 foot pounds. So Joules measurement was quite good.
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Lets focus on this relation between heat and mechanical work 1 BTU = 778.3 foot-pounds and note that 1 BTU is approximately the amount of energy released by burning a match. Burning releases the stored chemical energy in the wood. We see that this same amount of energy with lift a 1 pound weight nearly 800 feet in the air, or equivalently a 100 pound weight up to a height of 8 feet. It is quite remarkable that the chemical energy stored in such a small piece of material could accomplish such a feat! Indeed, the fact that burning fossil fuels yields quite useful amounts of mechanical energy is what made the industrial revolution possible.. Well return to this in much more detail later.

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Not only are the capacities of refrigerators usually stated in BTUs. Total annual world energy usage is often stated in terms of Quads. 1 Quad = 1 quadrillion BTU = 1 x 1015 BTU

In 2004, total world energy consumption was 447 Quads

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Back to thermal energy Thanks to Joule we can measure the amount of energy that it takes to heat something up. Can we also understand the nature of the energy contained in a hot object via the basic laws of physics? What is thermal energy? Matter comes in 3 basic phases solid, liquid & gas. The easiest to understand are gases and thats where well start.

In the case of simple gases, there is a simple formula relating the thermal energy of the gas to its temperature.

Solids and liquids are more complicated

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Well consider a gas thats made up of single atoms in a container. The atoms travel around in straight lines colliding occasionally with each other and with the walls of the container. The number of atoms in a gas is immense (approximately 3x1022 in a liter container at room temperature and pressure). The pressure of a gas comes from collisions of the atoms with the walls of the container. The faster the atoms in the gas are moving, the higher the pressure.

The speed of the atoms is in turn related to temperature.

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The average kinetic energy of gas atoms is

1 2 3 mv = k B T 2 2
where kB is known as Boltzmanns constant and is given by

m = mass of atoms T = temperature

kB = 1.4 ! 10"23 J / K
and temperature is measured using degrees Kelvin. (This is the K in the units of Boltzmanns constant) The total energy of the gas is just the sum for all the gas atoms.

3 E gas = NkB T 2
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N = number of gas atoms

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8 quantitative problems 1 short answer problem To be handed in in class

Be sure to show your work on the quantitative problems. Dont just write down the answer.

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