If an object is moved through a distance, s, by the action of a force, F, then WORK has been done on the object by the force. The amount of work done in moving an object is the product of the component of the force acting on the object parallel to the displacement, F, and the magnitude of the displacement, s, i.e.

Work is a scalar quantity. The unit of work is the joule, (J), which is the amount of work done on an object when a force of 1 newton produces a displacement of 1 metre.

Work done raising an object against the force of gravity:
The force required to lift an object of mass, m, near the surface of the earth is mg, that is, the weight of the object, directed upwards. When it is raised to a height, h, the object is displaced by a distance h in the direction of the force. Thus the work done against gravity, Wg, in raising an object of mass m through a height h is given by


Work done accelerating an object from rest:
If a force, F, is applied to a stationary object of mass, m, on a frictionless surface, the object accelerates from rest. After the object has moved a distance, s, the work done by the force will be W = Fs From Newton's second law, the force is related to the acceleration by F = ma and from the equations of motion, the velocity, v, of the object after it has moved a distance, s, is given by v2 = 2as The acceleration is thus a = v2/2s Thus, the work required to cause an object of mass, m, to be accelerated from rest to a velocity, v, is given by

Equally, the work that needs to be done in order to stop a body of mass, m, travelling at a velocity, v, is given by W = ½mv2. Example 1: How much work is done when a force of 5 kN moves its point of application 600mm in the direction of the force. Solution


Example 2 : Find the work done in raising 100 kg of water through a vertical distance of 3m. Solution The force is the weight of the water, so


Energy is the capacity to do work. It is a scalar quantity and has the units of joules, (J). There are various types of energy, such as gravitational potential energy , kinetic energy, heat, electrical and chemical energy. Mass is also a form of energy.

Potential energy:
Objects possess potential energy when they can do work on other objects by virtue of their position with respect to those other objects. Various types of potential energy can be defined - each type associated with a particular force.

Gravitational potential energy:

It is easy to see how an object on which the force of gravity acts has potential energy acts has potential energy if we consider two masses m and m' linked by a massless cord passing over a frictionless pulley.

If the mass, m, which is slightly greater than m', and is held at a height h above ground level were to be released, it would fall towards the ground. In the process, the mass m' would rise against the force of gravity, m'g, on it. When m reaches the ground the work done on m' would be the product of the force required to lift it, m'g, and the distance moved, h, that is, m'gh. At the start of the experiment the weight mg has the potential to do work, or POTENTIAL ENERGY due to its location in the gravitational field relative to some reference position. In this case, a height, h, above the ground.

The GRAVITATIONAL POTENTIAL ENERGY acquired by a weight, mg, in lifting it a distance, h, above the ground is equal to the work done in lifting the weight, that is, mgh.

Kinetic energy:
An object having mass, m, moving with a velocity, v, has a KINETIC ENERGY given by

A moving object has the capacity to do an amount of work equal to its kinetic energy.

Mechanical energy:
The MECHANICAL ENERGY of a body is the sum of its potential energy Ep and its kinetic energy Ek:

Constancy of mechanical energy for a falling body:

If an object of mass, m, is suspended at rest at a height, h, above the ground, its potential energy, mgh, and its kinetic energy is zero. This means that its mechanical energy is mgh, that is, mhg + 0.


If it is released and falls a distance, h', then its potential energy is mg(h - h'), and its kinetic energy is ½mv2. From the laws of motion, v2 = 2gh', thus the mechanical energy is given by: Mechanical energy = mg(h - h') + ½mv2 = mg(h - h') + mgh' = mgh

Immediately before hitting the ground, the velocity will be given by v2 = 2gh, the potential energy will be zero, and the kinetic energy will be given by Ek = ½mv2 = mgh. Thus as the body falls, its potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, but the mechanical energy has a constant value, namely mgh. (See the Worked example.)

Principle of conservation of energy:
In general, energy may be present in a system in a variety of forms, e.g., electrical energy, chemical energy, heat energy and so on. In mechanics we are concerned with gravitational potential energy, kinetic e nergy, and, to a lesser extent, heat energy. The principle of conservation of energy states that the total energy of a system remains constant By implication, energy cannot be created or destroyed. It is only converted from one form to another. During conversion of one form into another, an apparent loss of energy may occur, due to its conversion to other, unwanted forms. For example, conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy takes place with production of heat, which is wasted. Similarly, conversion of electrical energy into light energy (such as takes place in light bulb) is also accompanied by production of heat, which is wasted.


Example 2.1 What is the potential energy of a 10kg mass:
a. 100m above the surface of the earth b. at the bottom of a vertical mine shaft 1000m deep. Solution



Example 2.2 A car of mass 1000 kg travelling at 30m/s has its speed reduced to 10m/s by a constant breaking force over a distance of 75m. Find:
a. The cars initial kinetic energy b. The final kinetic energy c. The breaking force Solution




c) Change in kinetic energy = 400 kJ By Equation 3.5 work done = change in kinetic energy so

Conservation of energy The principle of conservation of energy state that the total energy of a system remains constant. Energy cannot be created or destroyed but may be converted from one form to another. Take the case of a crate on a slope. Initially it is at rest, all its energy is potential energy. As it accelerates, some of it potential energy is converted into kinetic energy and some used to overcome friction. This energy used to overcome friction is not lost but converted into heat. At the bottom of the slope the energy will be purely kinetic (assuming the datum for potential energy is the bottom of the slope.) If we consider a body falling freely in air, neglecting air resistance, then mechanical energy is conserved, as potential energy is lost and equal amount of kinetic energy is gained as speed increases. If the motion involves friction or collisions then the principle of conservation of energy is true, but conservation of mechanical energy is not applicable as some energy is converted to heat and perhaps sound.


Example 2.3 A cyclist and his bicycle has a mass of 80 kg. After 100m he reaches the top of a hill, with slope 1 in 20 measured along the slope, at a speed of 2 m/s. He then free wheels the 100m to the bottom of the hill where his speed has increased to 9m/s. How much energy has he lost on the hill? Solution

Figure 3.3: Dimensions of the hill in worked example 3.5 If the hill is 100m long then the height is:

So potential energy lost is

Increase in kinetic energy is

By the principle of conservation of energy


Power is the rate at which work is done, or the rate at which energy is used transferred.

Equation 3.6 The SI unit for power is the watt W.

A power of 1W means that work is being done at the rate of 1J/s. Larger units for power are the kilowatt kW (1kW = 1000 W = 103 W) and the megawatt MW (1 MW = 1000000 W = 106 W). If work is being done by a machine moving at speed v against a constant force, or resistance, F, then since work doe is force times distance, work done per second is Fv, which is the same as power.

Example 3.1 A constant force of 2kN pulls a crate along a level floor a distance of 10 m in 50s. What is the power used? Solution


Alternatively we could have calculated the speed first

and then calculated power

Example 3.2 A hoist operated by an electric motor has a mass of 500 kg. It raises a load of 300 kg vertically at a steady speed of 0.2 m/s. Frictional resistance can be taken to be constant at 1200 N. What is the power required? Solution


1. A box is dragged across a floor by a 100N force directed 60 o above the horizontal. How much work does the force do in pulling the object 8m?

Figure 1.1

2. A student lifts a 12 kg bag onto his shoulders through a vertical distance of 1.5 m. What is the work done by the student?

3. A student pulls a 50 kg box up a plane inclined at 30º to the horizontal as shown in Figure 1.2. If the length of the plane is 5 m, find the work done in pulling the box to the top of the plane.


Figure 1.2

4. A student drags a 60 kg bag at a constant speed along a horizontal surface through a distance of 3 m. The student does this by exerting a force of 50 N along a rope which makes an angle of 40º with the horizontal. Find the work done by the student.

5. The velocity of a 3 kg trolley is increased from 10 m s-1 to 16 m s-1 over a distance of 10 m. Find : a) The change in the kinetic energy of the trolley, b) The force that acts on the trolley.


6. An object of mass 5 kg is placed on a shelf which is 0.2 m above a table. If the table is 0.5 m above the floor. Find the potential energy of the object with reference to a) The table top, b) The floor

7. A steel ball of mass 2 kg is released from a height of 8 m from the ground. On hitting the ground, the ball rebounds to a height of 3.2 m as shown in Figure 1.3, a) If air resistance can be neglected and the acceleration due to gravity g = 10 m s-2,find i) The kinetic energy of the ball as it reaches the ground, ii) The velocity of the ball on reaching the ground, iii) The kinetic energy of the ball as it leaves the ground on rebound.

8.0 m 3.2 m

Figure 1.3

8. A 20 kg block of wood is pulled up an inclined plane with a force of 50 N that acts at an angle of 30º with the plane as shown in Figure 1.4. The block reaches a height of 0.8 m after it is being pulled over a distance of 8 m along the inclined plane. Find the work done in overcoming the force of friction.
30º 50 N 8m 0.8 m Figure 1.4


9. A student of mass 55 kg runs up a flight of 50 steps, each of 20 cm high. What is the power generated by the boy if he takes 22 s to climb to the top of the stairs? 10. A car moves at a constant velocity of velocity 72 km j-1. Find the power generated by the car if the force of friction that acts on it is 1500 N.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.