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Work and Energy

Lesson 1 : Work Done by a Constant Force

When a force acts on an object while
displacement occurs, the force has done
work on the object.
The magnitude of work (W) is the product
of the amount of the force applied along
the direction of displacement and the
magnitude of the displacement.
W = Fcosx

Units of Work
N . m = Joule (J)

Determining the Sign of Work

+ Work
If the force has a
component in the
direction of the

- Work
If the force has a
component in the
opposite direction of
the displacement.

Positive and negative Work

The force from person
does _____ work.
The weight force is
_____ work.
As person lowers box
how does sign of the
work change?

Example 1

Rank the following situations in order of

the work done by the force on the
object, from most positive to most
negative. [Displacement is to the right
and of the same magnitude.]

Example 2



= 0.30

Find the work done by all forces as a 4.0 kg

mass slides 5.0 m down a 30o incline where
the coefficient of kinetic friction is 0.30.

Graphical Analysis of Work

F (N)

WF = Fx

x (m)

Work done is the area under the graph

Machines can increase force, but not work.

W = Fd
Why can the tractor pull out the stump with
the pulley?
What are other examples of machines that
increase applied force?

Work is a Scalar (Dot) Product

W = Fcosx
A . B = ABcos
W = F . x

Example 3
A particle moving in the xy plane undergoes a
displacement x = (2.0 i + 3.0 j) m as a
constant force F = (5.0 i + 2.0 j) N acts on the
a) Calculate the magnitudes of the
displacement and the force.

b) Calculate the work done by force F.

Lesson 2 : Work Done by a Varying Force


W = Fxx

Spring Constants for Multiple Springs

As x approaches 0,

lim Fxx =

x 0

F dx




F dx


Example 1

A force acting on a particle varies with

x, as shown above. Calculate the work
done by the force as the particle
moves from x = 0 to x = 6.0 m.

Example 2

The interplanetary probe shown above is

attracted to the Sun by a force given by

F= -

1.3 x 1022

This equation is in SI units, where x is

the Sun-probe separation distance.
Determine how much work is done by
the Sun on the probe as the probe-Sun
separation changes from 1.5 x 1011 m to
2.3 x 1011 m.

Graphical Solution

~ 60 squares

Each square = (0.05 N)(0.1 x 1011 m)

= 5 x 108 J

Work Done by a Spring

Hookes Law
force exerted by

Fs = -kx

spring constant
in N/m

position relative to
equilibrium position

Negative sign signifies that the force

exerted by spring is always directed
opposite to the displacement.

stretched spring

equilibrium position

compressed spring


Ws =

F dx =


(-kx)dx =
Ws = kx2
Work done by the spring force is positive
because the force is in the same direction
as displacement.

Generalized Work Done by Spring


Ws =


(-kx)dx = kxi2 - kxf2

Generalized Work Done on Spring


Ws =


Fappdx =



kxdx = kxf2 - kxi2

Example 3

A common technique used to measure the spring

constant (k) is shown above. The spring is hung
vertically, and an object of mass m is attached to
its lower end. Under the action of the load mg,
the spring stretches a distance d from its
equilibrium position.

a) If a spring is stretched 2.0 cm by a suspended

mass of 0.55 kg, what is the spring
constant of the spring ?

b) How much work is done by the spring as it

stretches through this distance ?

c) Suppose the measurement is made on an

elevator with an upward vertical
acceleration a. Will the unaware experimenter
arrive at the same value of the spring constant ?

Example 4
If it takes 4.00 J of work to stretch a Hookes
Law spring 10.0 cm from its unstressed
length, determine the extra work required to
stretch it an additional 10.0 cm.

Example 5
A light spring with spring constant 1200 N/m
is hung from an elevated support. From its
lower end a second light spring is hung,
which has spring constant 1800 N/m. An
object of mass 1.50 kg is hung at rest from
the lower end of the second spring.
a) Find the total extension distance of the
pair of springs.

b) Find the effective spring constant of the

pair of springs as a system. We
describe these springs as in series.

Example 6

A force F = (4xi + 3yj) N acts on an

object as the object moves in the xdirection from the origin to x = 5.00 m.

Find the work W = F . dx done on the

object by the force.

Lesson 3 : Work-Kinetic Energy Theorem

Work done by F is

W =

F dx



ma dx

W =



W =




(by chain-rule) W =


W =






W = mvf2 mvi2

Kinetic Energy
KE = mv2

Work - Kinetic Energy Theorem

If work done on a system only
changes its speed, the work done
by the net force equals the
change in KE of the system.
W = KEf KEi = KE

Example 1

A 6.0 kg block initially at rest is pulled to the

right along a horizontal, frictionless surface by
a constant horizontal force of 12 N. Find the
speed of the block after it has moved 3.0 m.

Example 2

A man wishes to load a refrigerator onto a

truck using a ramp. He claims that less
work would be required to load the truck if
the length L of the ramp were increased. Is
his statement valid ?

Example 3

A 4.00 kg particle is subject to a total force that

varies with position as shown above. The particle
starts from rest at x = 0. What is its speed at
a) x = 5.00 m
b) x = 10.00 m
c) x = 15.00 m

Lesson 4 : Situations Involving Kinetic Friction

Fx = max
Fx)x = (max)x
ax =

vf - v i

x = (vi + vf) t

Fx)x = m

vf - v i

) (v + v ) t

Fx)x = mvf2 mvi2

This is not work because x is displacement of

a particle the book is not a particle !

Fx)x = -fkx = mvf2 mvi2 = KE

-fkx = KE

KE in General
-fkd = KE
d = length of any
path followed

KE = -fkd + Wother forces

KEf = KEi - fkd + Wother forces

Example 1
A 6.0 kg block initially at rest is pulled to
the right along a horizontal surface by a
constant horizontal force of 12 N.
a) Find the speed of the block after it has
moved 3.0 m if the surfaces in
contact have a coefficient of kinetic
friction of 0.15.

b) Suppose the force F is applied at and

angle as shown below. At what angle
should the force be applied to achieve
the largest possible speed after the block
has moved 3.0 m to the right ?

Change in Internal Energy due to

The result of a friction force is to
transform KE into internal energy, and
the increase in internal energy is equal
is equal to the decrease in KE.
Esystem = KE + Eint = 0
-fkd + Eint = 0
Eint = fkd

Example 2
A 40.0 kg box initially at rest is pushed 5.00
m along a rough, horizontal floor with a
constant applied horizontal force of 130 N. If
the coefficient of friction between box and
floor is 0.300, find
a) the work done by the applied force

b) the increase in internal energy in the

box-floor system due to friction

c) the work done by the normal force

d) the work done by the gravitational


e) the change in kinetic energy of the box

f) the final speed of the box.

Lesson 5 : Power

Same amount of work

Time interval
is different

Average Power
time rate of energy transfer


Instantaneous Power
P = lim

t 0




F . dx


Units of Power
SI unit of power is J/s or the Watt (W).
1 W = 1 J/s = 1 kg . m2/s3

In the U.S. customary system, the unit of

power is the horsepower (hp).
1 hp = 746 W

The kilowatt-hour (kWh)

The energy transferred in 1 h at the
constant rate of 1kW = 1000 J/s.
1 kWh = (103 W)(3600 s) = 3.60 x 106 J

* Note that a kWh is a unit of energy, not


Example 1

An elevator car has a mass of 1600 kg and is

carrying passengers having a combined mass
of 200 kg. A constant friction force of 4000 N
retards its motion upward, as shown above.

a) What power delivered by the motor is

required to lift the elevator car at a
constant speed of 3.00 m/s ?

b) What power must the motor deliver at

the instant the speed of the elevator is v if
the motor is designed to
provide the
elevator car with an
acceleration of 1.00 m/s2 ?

Example 2
Find the instantaneous power delivered by
gravity to a 4 kg mass 2 s after it has fallen
from rest.

Example 3
Find the instantaneous power delivered by
the net force at t = 2 s to a 0.5 kg mass
moving in one dimension according to x(t) =
1/3 t3.

Example 4

Consider a car of mass m that is accelerating up a

hill, as shown above. An automotive engineer
measures the magnitude of the total resistive force
to be ft = (218 + 0.70v2) N where v is in m/s.
Determine the power the engine must deliver to the
wheels as a function of speed.

Example 5 : AP 2003 #1
100 kg

The 100 kg box shown above is being

pulled along the x-axis by a student. The
box slides across a rough surface, and its
position x varies with time t according to
the equation x = 0.5t3 + 2t, where x is in
meters and t is in seconds.
a) Determine the speed of the box at time
t = 0.

b) Determine the following as functions of

time t.
i. The kinetic energy of the box.

ii. The net force acting on the box.

iii. The power being delivered to the box.

c) Calculate the net work done on the box

in the interval t = 0 to t = 2 s.

d) Indicate below whether the work done

on the box by the student in the interval t
= 0 to t = 2 s would be greater
than, less
than, or equal to the answer
in part c).
Justify your answer.
____Greater than

____ Less than

____ Equal

Lesson 6 : Potential Energy

system = book + Earth
Work done on
system by external
agent in lifting
KE = 0
(vi = 0, vf = 0)
When book is at yb, the energy of the
system has potential to become KE.

Gravitational Potential Energy

When lifting at constant velocity,
^ .
W = (Fapp) x = (mgj) [(yb ya)j] = mgyb - mgya

Ug = mgy
W = Ug
Units for Ug are Joules (J). Like work
and KE, Ug is a scalar quantity.

Example 1
A bowling ball held by a careless bowler
slips from the bowlers hands and drops
on the bowlers toe. Choosing floor level
as the y = 0 point of your coordinate
system, estimate the change in
gravitational PE of the ball-Earth system
as the ball falls. Repeat the calculation,
using the top of the bowlers head as the
origin of coordinates.

Example 2
A 400 N child is in a swing that is attached
to ropes 2.00 m long. Find the
gravitational potential energy of the childEarth system relative to the childs lowest
position when
a) the ropes are horizontal
b) the ropes make a 30o angle with the
c) the child is at the bottom of the circular

Lesson 7 : Conservation of Mechanical Energy

As book falls from yb to ya,

the work done by the
gravitational force on the
book is

Won book = (mg) (x) = (-mg j) . [(ya yb) j]


Won book = mgyb - mgya

From the work-kinetic energy theorem,
Won book = KEbook
KEbook = mgyb - mgya
For the book-Earth system,
mgyb mgya = -(mgya mgyb) = -(Uf Ui) = -Ug

KE = -Ug

Bringing U to left side of the equation,

KE + Ug = 0
This sum of KE and Ug is called
mechanical energy.
Emech = KE + U

represents all
types of potential

(KEf KEi) + (Uf Ui) = 0

KEf + Uf = KEi + Ui
Conservation of Mechanical Energy
(isolated, frictionless system)

Elastic Potential Energy

WFapp = kxf2 kxi2

Elastic potential energy
stored in a spring

Us = kx2

Example 1
A ball of mass m is
dropped from a height h
above the ground, as
a) Neglecting air resistance,
determine the speed of
the ball when it is at a
height y above the

b) Determine the speed of the ball at y if at

the instant of release it already has an
initial upward speed vi at the initial
altitude h.

Example 2

A pendulum consists of a sphere of

mass m attached to a light cord of
length L. The sphere is released from
rest at point A when the cord makes an
angle A with the vertical, and the pivot
at P is frictionless.

a) Find the speed of the sphere when it is

at the lowest point B.

b) What is the tension TB in the cord at B ?

Example 3
The launching mechanism of a
toy gun consists of a spring of
unknown spring constant.
When the spring is compressed
0.120 m, the gun, when fired
vertically, is able to launch a
35.0 g projectile to a maximum
height of 20.0 m above the
position of the projectile before
a) Neglecting all resistive forces,
determine the spring constant.

b) Find the speed of the projectile as it

moves through the equilibrium position
the spring (where xB = 0.120 m).


Example 4

A bead slides without friction around a loopthe-loop. The bead is released from a height
h = 3.50R.
a) What is its speed at point A ?

b) How large is the normal force on it if

its mass is 5.00 g ?

Example 5

An object of mass m starts from rest and slides

a distance d down a frictionless incline of angle
. While sliding, it contacts an unstressed
spring of negligible mass as shown above. The
object slides an additional distance x as it is
brought momentarily to rest by compression of
the spring (of spring constant k). Find the initial
separation d between object and spring.

Example 6 : AP 1989 # 1

A 0.1 kg block is released from rest at point A as

shown above, a vertical distance h above the
ground. It slides down an inclined track, around a
circular loop of radius 0.5 m, then up another
incline that forms an angle of 30o with the
horizontal. The block slides off the track with a
speed of 4 m/s at point C, which is a height of 0.5 m
above the ground. Assume the entire track to be
frictionless and air resistance to be negligible.

a) Determine the height h.

b) On the figure below, draw and label all

the forces acting on the block when
it is at point B, which is 0.5 m above
the ground.

c) Determine the magnitude of the force

exerted by the track on the block
when it is at point B.

d) Determine the maximum height above

the ground attained by the block
after it leaves the track.

e) Another track that has the same

configuration, but is NOT frictionless, is
used. With this track it is found that if
block is to reach point C with a speed of 4
m/s, the height h must be 2 m. Determine
the work done by the frictional force.

Example 7 : AP 1985 # 2

An apparatus to determine coefficients of friction

is shown above. The box is slowly rotated
counter-clockwise. When the box makes an angle
with the horizontal, the block of mass m just
starts to slide, and at this instant the box is
stopped from rotating. Thus at angle , the block
slides a distance d, hits the spring of force
constant k, and compresses the spring a distance
x before coming to rest.

In terms of the given quantities, derive an

expression for each of the following.
a) s, the coefficient of static friction

b) E, the loss in total mechanical energy

of the block-spring system from the start
of the block down the incline to the
moment at which it comes to rest on the
compressed spring

c) k, the coefficient of kinetic friction

Lesson 8 : Conservative and Nonconservative Forces

Conservative Forces
1. The work done by a conservative force
on a particle moving between any two
points is independent of the path
by the particle.
2. The work done by a conservative force
on a particle moving through any
closed path is zero. (A closed path is one
in which the beginning and end points are

Examples of Conservative Forces

a) Gravitational Force
Wg = mgyi - mgyf


Wg depends on y
coordinates and is
independent of the path
Wg is zero when the object
moves over any closed
path (where yi = yf).


b) Force exerted by a spring

Ws = kxi2 kxf2
Ws depends on y
coordinates and is
independent of the path
Wg is zero when the object
moves over any closed
path (where yi = yf).

Nonconservative Forces
A force that does not satisfy the
properties of a conservative force.
Work done by force depends on the path.

Nonconservative forces
acting within a system
cause a change in the
mechanical energy of the

If book is displaced along blue path, work

done against friction is less than if book is
pushed along curved brown path.
Friction force is a nonconservative force.

If the forces acting on objects within a

system are conservative, then the mechanical
energy of the system is conserved.
If some of the forces acting on objects within
a system are nonconservative, then the
mechanical energy of the system changes.
If a friction force acts within a system,
Emech = KE + U = -fkd

Example 1
A 3.00 kg crate slides down a ramp. The
ramp is 1.00 m in length and inclined at an
angle of 30.0o. The crate starts from rest at
the top, experiences a constant friction
force of magnitude 5.00 N, and continues
to move a short distance on the horizontal
floor after it leaves the ramp. Use energy
methods to determine the speed of the
crate at the bottom of the ramp.

Diagram for Example 1

Example 2
A child of mass m rides
on an irregularly curved
slide of height h = 2.00 m.
The child starts from rest
at the top.

a) Determine his speed

at the bottom,
assuming no friction is present.

b) If a force of kinetic friction acts on the

child, how much mechanical energy does
the system lose ? Assume that vf = 3.00
m/s and m = 20.0 kg.

Example 3

Two blocks are connected by a light string that passes over

a frictionless pulley. The block of mass m1 lies on a
horizontal surface and is connected to a spring of force
constant k. The system is released from rest when the
spring is unstretched. If the hanging block of mass m2 falls
a distance h before coming to rest, calculate the coefficient
of kinetic friction between the block m1 and the surface.

Lesson 9 : Conservative Forces and PE

The work done by a conservative
force equals the decrease in PE of
the system.

Wc =


dx = -U

U = Uf Ui = -



U = is negative when Fx and dx are

in the same direction.


Ug is negative

Us is negative

Uf (x) = -


dx + Ui

dU = -Fx dx
Fx = dx

The x-component of a conservative force

acting on an object within a system equals
the negative derivative of the potential
energy of the system with respect to x.

Gravitational PE
Fg = dy
Fg = dy
Fg = -mg


Elastic PE
Fs = dx
Fs = (1/2 kx2)
Fs = -kx
(Hookes Law)

Example 1
Consider the potential energy of two
molecules given by



Find the force along the line joining

the two molecules.

Lesson 10 : Energy Diagrams


Negative slope
equals F

Stable equilibrium
U(x) is a minimum

The force at a given point is the

negative slope of the curve.

= -kx

Where the graph reaches maxima or

minima, the force will be 0.
Stable equilibrium points will be
located at the minima.

Fx is negative

Fx is positive

away from x = 0

away from x = 0

unstable equilibrium

Example 1
For the potential energy curve shown below,

a) determine whether the force Fx is positive,

negative, or zero at the five points

b) indicate points of stable, unstable, and

neutral equilibrium.

c) sketch the curve for Fx vs. x from x = 0 to

x = 9.5 m

Example 2
A particle moves along a line where the
potential energy of its system depends on its
position r as graphed below. In the limit as r
increases without bound, U(r) approaches +1J.

a) Identify each equilibrium position for this

particle. Indicate whether each is a
of stable, unstable, or neutral

b) The particle will be bound if the total

energy of the system is in what range ?

Now suppose that the system has energy -3J.

c) the range of positions where the particle
can be found.

d) its maximum kinetic energy.

e) the location where it has maximum kinetic


f) the binding energy of the system that is,

the additional energy that it would have
to be given in order for the particle to
move out to r infinity .

Example 3

Jane, whose mass is 50.0 kg, needs to swing across a river

(having width D) filled with man-eating crocodiles to save
Tarzan from danger. She must swing into a wind exerting
constant horizontal force F, on a vine having length L and
initially making an angle with the vertical.

Taking D = 50.0 m, F = 110 N, L = 40.0 m,

and = 50.0o,
a) with what minimum speed must Jane
begin her swing in order to just make it
the other side ?


b) Once the rescue is complete, Tarzan and

Jane must swing back across the river.
With what minimum speed must they
begin their swing ? Assume that Tarzan
has a mass of 80.0 kg.

Example 4 : AP 1987 # 2
The following graph shows the potential energy U(x)
of a particle as a function of its position x.

a) Identify all points of equilibrium for this


Suppose the particle has a constant total

energy of 4.0 J, as shown by the dashed
line on the graph.
b) Determine the kinetic energy of the
particle at the following positions :
i. x = 2.0 m

ii. x = 4.0 m

c) Can the particle reach the position

x = 0.5 m ? Explain.

d) Can the particle reach the position

x = 5.0 m ? Explain.

e) On the grid below, carefully draw a graph

of the conservative force acting on the
particle as a function of x, for 0<x<7 m.

Example 5 : AP 1995 # 2
A particle of mass m moves in a conservative
force field described by the potential energy
function U(r) = a(r/b + b/r), where a and b are
positive constants and r is the distance from the
origin. The graph of U(r) has the following shape.

a) In terms of the constants a and b,

determine the following :
i. The position ro at which the potential
energy is a minimum.

ii. The minimum potential energy Uo.

b) Sketch the net force on the particle as a function

of r on the graph below, considering a force
directed away from the origin to be positive,
and a force directed toward the origin to be

The particle is released from rest at r = ro/2.

c) In terms of Uo and m, determine the speed
of the particle when it is at r = ro.

d) Write the equation or equations that could

be used to determine where, if ever, the
particle will again come to rest. It is not
necessary to solve for this position.

e) Briefly and qualitatively describe the

motion of the particle over a long period


1785: Charles Augustin de Coulomb, electric force proportional to product of

charges and inverse square of distance
1786: Antoine Lavoisier, distinction between elements and compounds
1787: Antoine Lavoisier, system for naming chemicals
1787: Jacques-Alexander Charles, law of gas expansion with temperature
1788: Joseph Lagrange, Lagrangian mechanics
1788: John Hunter, Diffusion of heat
1789: Antoine Lavoisier, Conservation of mass in chemical reactions
1789: Martin Klaproth, elements zirconium and uranium in compounds
1790: Definition of metric system in France
1790: Adair Crawford, element strontium in compounds
1791: William Gregor, element titanium in compounds
1794: Johann Gadolin, element yttrium in compounds
1794: Pierre Laplace, analysis of Newtonian black hole
1796: Alessandro Volta, chemical batteries and voltage
1797: Henry Cavendish, measured the gravitational constant with a torsion
1797: Nicholas Vauquelin, element berylium idnetified in gem stones
1797: Nicholas Vauquelin, element chromium
1798: Benjamin Thompson, heat generated equals work done
1798: M. Klaproth, isolation of element tellurium
1798: Humphry Davy, Transmission of heat through vacuum
1798: Benjamin Rumford, experimental relation between work done and
heat generated

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