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Chapter 6 – Work, Power, and Efficiency

Unit 3 – Momentum and Energy

Types of Energy

Physicists classify energy into two fundamental types: kinetic energy and potential energy. Kinetic energy is the energy of motion.

Potential energy is the energy that is stored (or has the potential to be used). In this chapter, we will focus on one type of energy called mechanical energy.

Types of Energy

Mechanical energy is a combination of kinetic and potential energy. A baseball that has been thrown like a parabola through the air has both kinetic and potential energy – it has kinetic energy because it is moving, and it has potential energy because it is high in the air. The force of gravity acts on the ball, causing it to fall to the ground. As it falls, its speed increases and it gains kinetic energy.

Defining Work

In Physics, an object does work on an object if it causes the object to move. Work is always done on an object and results in a change in the object. Work is not energy itself – it is a transfer of mechanical energy.

Defining Work

What are some examples of doing work on an object?

For work to exists, there is always a force exerted on the object causing it to move a certain distance.

Defining Work

You know from experience that it takes more work to move a heavy table than a light one. It also takes more work to move it to a new building than to move it across the room. The amount of work depends on both the magnitude of the force, and the displacement of the object.

Defining Work

Defining Work

The unit of work (N•m) is called a Joule, J.

One Joule of work is created by exerting exactly one Newton of force on a object, causing it to move exactly one meter.

Defining Work

The definition for work depends on the individual forces acting on the object, and not on the net force. If you are pushing a wooden box across the floor, BOTH the applied force and the force of friction are doing work. You can calculate each of these forces individually – we do not need to use the net force.

Model Problem
A Physics student is rearranging her room. She decides to move her desk across the room, a total distance of 3.00m. She moves the desk at a constant velocity by exerting a horizontal force of 2.00x102N. Calculate the amount of work the student did on the desk in moving it across the room.

Zero Work

Physicists define work very precisely.

The work done on an object can ONLY be calculated when the force and displacement vectors are parallel.
This can be shown through three cases:

Zero Work
Case 1: Applying a force that does not cause motion

If you were to push on a house, it likely wouldn’t move. Thus, according to the equation for work, the work done on the house is zero because the displacement is zero.
Your muscles feel as though they’ve done work, but in the case of Physics, they did not do any work on the house.

Zero Work
Case II: Uniform Motion in the Absence of a Force

What do Newton’s first law and inertia say about an object in motion? A hockey puck sliding on a frictionless surface at constant speed is moving, but the work done is zero because there is no force required to continue the motion.

Zero Work
Case III: Applying a Force that is Perpendicular to Motion If you are carrying a textbook, your hand is applying a force directly upward (against gravity), keeping the textbook up. But, if you are walking forward, the books motion is forward, which is perpendicular to the force acting on the book. Thus, the work done by you hand on the textbook is zero.

Zero Work

In the third case, it is important to note that your hand does do work on the textbook to accelerate it when you begin to move, but once you and the textbook are moving at constant velocity, you are no longer doing work on the book.

Model Problem

A child ties a ball to the end of a 1.0m string and swings the ball in a circle. If the string exerts a 10N force on the ball, how much work does the string do on the ball during a swing of one complete circle?

Work Done by Changing Forces

So far we’ve only talked about work when it pertains to constant motion. However, out definition of work (W=FΔd) applies to all cases, including situations where the force changes. Mathematically, solving problems with changing forces is beyond our current knowledge, but instead we can do so graphically.

Work Done by Changing Forces

A force-vs-position graph can allow you to determine the work that’s been done regardless of if the force remains constant. The work is given by the area under the curve!

Work Done by Changing Forces

Work Done by Changing Forces

Constant Force at an Angle

To determine the work done on an object when the force applied is at an angle, we must first find the component of the force that is parallel to the direction of motion.

For the work done where the x-component of the force is parallel to the direction of the motion, we can use:
W = FcosθΔd = FΔdcosθ

Positive and Negative Work

Can a force and direction still be parallel even if they point in opposite directions? If they point in different directions, it simply means that the angle is 180º.

Positive and Negative Feet

Negative work done by an external force reduces the energy of a mass. The energy does not disappear – it is lost to the surroundings in the form of heat or thermal energy. Positive work adds energy to an object, while negative work removes energy from an object.

Model Problem
Consider a weight lifter bench-pressing a barbell weighing 6.50x102N through a height of 0.55m. There are two distinct motions: (1) when the barbell is lifted up and (2) when the barbell is lowered back down. Calculate the work done on the barbell during each of the two motions.

Kinetic Energy

The energy of motion is called kinetic energy.

We can think intuitively about what quantifies kinetic energy – if a bowling ball and a golf ball were rolling towards you with the same velocity, which would you want to avoid more?
Since both balls have the same velocity, the mass must be contributing to the kinetic energy of the balls.

Kinetic Energy

A Dutch mathematician and physicist names Christian Huygens looked for a quantity involving both mass and velocity that was characteristic of an object’s motion.

He experimented using the collisions of rigid balls (similar to billiard balls).
He discovered that if he calculated the product of the mass and the square of the velocity for each ball, and then added those products together, the totals were the same before and after the collisions.

Kinetic Energy

Model Problem
A 0.200kg hockey puck, initially at rest, is accelerated to 27.0m/s. Calculate the kinetic energy of the hockey puck (a) at rest and (b) in motion.

Work and Kinetic Energy

The relationship between doing work on an object and the resulting kinetic energy of the object is called the work-kinetic energy theorem. This is quite intuitive – if you saw a hockey puck at rest on the ice and a moment later saw it hurtling though the air, you would conclude that someone did work on the puck by exerting a large force over a short distance. This correctly shows that doing work on an object give the object an increased velocity, or kinetic energy.

Work and Kinetic Energy

So, we have to find a relationship between work and the energy of motion.

Work and Kinetic Energy

Model Problem
A Physics student does work on a 2.5kg curling stone by exerting 400N of force horizontally over a distance of 1.5m. (a) Calculate the work done by the student on the curling stone. (b) Assuming the stone started from rest, calculate the velocity of the stone at the point of release if the ice is frictionless.

Model Problem