# 7.4 Conservative forces and potential energy  (Page 3/10)

 Page 3 / 10 (a) An undeformed spring has no PE s size 12{"PE" rSub { size 8{s} } } {} stored in it. (b) The force needed to stretch (or compress) the spring a distance x size 12{x} {} has a magnitude F = kx size 12{F= ital "kx"} {} , and the work done to stretch (or compress) it is 1 2 kx 2 size 12{ { {1} over {2} } ital "kx" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} . Because the force is conservative, this work is stored as potential energy ( PE s ) size 12{ $$"PE" rSub { size 8{s} }$$ } {} in the spring, and it can be fully recovered. (c) A graph of F size 12{F} {} vs. x size 12{x} {} has a slope of k size 12{k} {} , and the area under the graph is 1 2 kx 2 size 12{ { {1} over {2} } ital "kx" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} . Thus the work done or potential energy stored is 1 2 kx 2 .

The equation ${\text{PE}}_{s}=\frac{1}{2}{\text{kx}}^{2}$ has general validity beyond the special case for which it was derived. Potential energy can be stored in any elastic medium by deforming it. Indeed, the general definition of potential energy    is energy due to position, shape, or configuration. For shape or position deformations, stored energy is ${\text{PE}}_{s}=\frac{1}{2}{\text{kx}}^{2}$ , where $k$ is the force constant of the particular system and $x$ is its deformation. Another example is seen in [link] for a guitar string. Work is done to deform the guitar string, giving it potential energy. When released, the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and back to potential as the string oscillates back and forth. A very small fraction is dissipated as sound energy, slowly removing energy from the string.

## Conservation of mechanical energy

Let us now consider what form the work-energy theorem takes when only conservative forces are involved. This will lead us to the conservation of energy principle. The work-energy theorem states that the net work done by all forces acting on a system equals its change in kinetic energy. In equation form, this is

${W}_{\text{net}}=\frac{1}{2}{\text{mv}}^{2}-\frac{1}{2}{{\text{mv}}_{0}}^{2}=\Delta \text{KE.}$

If only conservative forces act, then

${W}_{\text{net}}={W}_{\text{c}}\text{,}$

where ${W}_{c}$ is the total work done by all conservative forces. Thus,

${W}_{\text{c}}=\text{Δ}\text{KE.}$

Now, if the conservative force, such as the gravitational force or a spring force, does work, the system loses potential energy. That is, ${W}_{\text{c}}=-\text{Δ}\text{PE}$ . Therefore,

$-\text{Δ}\text{PE}=\text{Δ}\text{KE}$

or

$\text{Δ}\text{KE}+\text{Δ}\text{PE}=0.$

This equation means that the total kinetic and potential energy is constant for any process involving only conservative forces. That is,

where i and f denote initial and final values. This equation is a form of the work-energy theorem for conservative forces; it is known as the conservation of mechanical energy    principle. Remember that this applies to the extent that all the forces are conservative, so that friction is negligible. The total kinetic plus potential energy of a system is defined to be its mechanical energy    , $\left(\text{KE}+\text{PE}\right)$ . In a system that experiences only conservative forces, there is a potential energy associated with each force, and the energy only changes form between $\text{KE}$ and the various types of $\text{PE}$ , with the total energy remaining constant.

The internal energy of a system is the sum of the kinetic energies of all of its elements, plus the potential energy due to all of the interactions due to conservative forces between all of the elements.

## Real world connections

Consider a wind-up toy, such as a car. It uses a spring system to store energy. The amount of energy stored depends only on how many times it is wound, not how quickly or slowly the winding happens. Similarly, a dart gun using compressed air stores energy in its internal structure. In this case, the energy stored inside depends only on how many times it is pumped, not how quickly or slowly the pumping is done. The total energy put into the system, whether through winding or pumping, is equal to the total energy conserved in the system (minus any energy loss in the system due to interactions between its parts, such as air leaks in the dart gun). Since the internal energy of the system is conserved, you can calculate the amount of stored energy by measuring the kinetic energy of the system (the moving car or dart) when the potential energy is released.

#### Questions & Answers

A weather vane is some sort of directional arrow parallel to the ground that may rotate freely in a horizontal plane. A typical weather vane has a large cross-sectional area perpendicular to the direction the arrow is pointing, like a “One Way” street sign. The purpose of the weather vane is to indicate the direction of the wind. As wind blows pa
Kavita Reply
If a prism is fully imersed in water then the ray of light will normally dispersed or their is any difference?
Anurag Reply
the same behavior thru the prism out or in water bud abbot
Ju
If this will experimented with a hollow(vaccum) prism in water then what will be result ?
Anurag
What was the previous far point of a patient who had laser correction that reduced the power of her eye by 7.00 D, producing a normal distant vision power of 50.0 D for her?
Jaydie Reply
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
A young woman with normal distant vision has a 10.0% ability to accommodate (that is, increase) the power of her eyes. What is the closest object she can see clearly?
Jaydie
29/20 ? maybes
Ju
In what ways does physics affect the society both positively or negatively
Princewill Reply
how can I read physics...am finding it difficult to understand...pls help
rerry Reply
try to read several books on phy don't just rely one. some authors explain better than other.
Ju
And don't forget to check out YouTube videos on the subject. Videos offer a different visual way to learn easier.
Ju
hope that helps
Ju
I have a exam on 12 february
David Reply
what is velocity
Jiti
the speed of something in a given direction.
Ju
what is a magnitude in physics
Jiti Reply
Propose a force standard different from the example of a stretched spring discussed in the text. Your standard must be capable of producing the same force repeatedly.
Giovani Reply
What is meant by dielectric charge?
It's Reply
what happens to the size of charge if the dielectric is changed?
Brhanu Reply
omega= omega not +alpha t derivation
Provakar Reply
u have to derivate it respected to time ...and as w is the angular velocity uu will relace it with "thita × time""
Abrar
do to be peaceful with any body
Brhanu Reply
the angle subtended at the center of sphere of radius r in steradian is equal to 4 pi how?
Saeed Reply
if for diatonic gas Cv =5R/2 then gamma is equal to 7/5 how?
Saeed
define variable velocity
Ali Reply
displacement in easy way.
Mubashir Reply

### Read also:

#### Get the best College physics for ap... course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics for ap® courses' conversation and receive update notifications? By By By Nick Swain By      By Mistry Bhavesh By By