<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

How the work-energy theorem applies

Now let us consider what form the work-energy theorem takes when both conservative and nonconservative forces act. We will see that the work done by nonconservative forces equals the change in the mechanical energy of a system. As noted in Kinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem , the work-energy theorem states that the net work on a system equals the change in its kinetic energy, or W net = ΔKE size 12{W rSub { size 8{"net"} } =D"KE"} {} . The net work is the sum of the work by nonconservative forces plus the work by conservative forces. That is,

W net = W nc + W c , size 12{W rSub { size 8{"net"} } =W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } +W rSub { size 8{c} } } {}

so that

W nc + W c = Δ KE , size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } +W rSub { size 8{c} } =Δ"KE"} {}

where W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is the total work done by all nonconservative forces and W c size 12{W rSub { size 8{c} } } {} is the total work done by all conservative forces.

A person pushing a heavy box up an incline. A force F p applied by the person is shown by a vector pointing up the incline. And frictional force f is shown by a vector pointing down the incline, acting on the box.
A person pushes a crate up a ramp, doing work on the crate. Friction and gravitational force (not shown) also do work on the crate; both forces oppose the person’s push. As the crate is pushed up the ramp, it gains mechanical energy, implying that the work done by the person is greater than the work done by friction.

Consider [link] , in which a person pushes a crate up a ramp and is opposed by friction. As in the previous section, we note that work done by a conservative force comes from a loss of gravitational potential energy, so that W c = Δ PE size 12{W rSub { size 8{c} } = - Δ"PE"} {} . Substituting this equation into the previous one and solving for W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} gives

W nc = Δ KE + Δ PE. size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } =Δ"KE"+Δ"PE"} {}

This equation means that the total mechanical energy ( KE + PE ) size 12{ \( "KE + PE" \) } {} changes by exactly the amount of work done by nonconservative forces. In [link] , this is the work done by the person minus the work done by friction. So even if energy is not conserved for the system of interest (such as the crate), we know that an equal amount of work was done to cause the change in total mechanical energy.

We rearrange W nc = Δ KE + Δ PE size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } =D"KE"+D"PE"} {} to obtain

KE i + PE i + W nc = KE f + PE f . size 12{"KE""" lSub { size 8{i} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{i} } +W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } ="KE""" lSub { size 8{f} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{f} } } {}

This means that the amount of work done by nonconservative forces adds to the mechanical energy of a system. If W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is positive, then mechanical energy is increased, such as when the person pushes the crate up the ramp in [link] . If W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is negative, then mechanical energy is decreased, such as when the rock hits the ground in [link] (b). If W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is zero, then mechanical energy is conserved, and nonconservative forces are balanced. For example, when you push a lawn mower at constant speed on level ground, your work done is removed by the work of friction, and the mower has a constant energy.

Applying energy conservation with nonconservative forces

When no change in potential energy occurs, applying KE i + PE i + W nc = KE f + PE f size 12{"KE""" lSub { size 8{i} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{i} } +W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } ="KE""" lSub { size 8{f} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{f} } } {} amounts to applying the work-energy theorem by setting the change in kinetic energy to be equal to the net work done on the system, which in the most general case includes both conservative and nonconservative forces. But when seeking instead to find a change in total mechanical energy in situations that involve changes in both potential and kinetic energy, the previous equation KE i + PE i + W nc = KE f + PE f size 12{"KE""" lSub { size 8{i} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{i} } +W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } ="KE""" lSub { size 8{f} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{f} } } {} says that you can start by finding the change in mechanical energy that would have resulted from just the conservative forces, including the potential energy changes, and add to it the work done, with the proper sign, by any nonconservative forces involved.

Questions & Answers

an 8.0 capacitor is connected by to the terminals of 60Hz whoes rms voltage is 150v. a.find the capacity reactance and rms to the circuit
Aisha Reply
thanks so much. i undersooth well
Valdes Reply
what is physics
Nwafor Reply
is the study of matter in relation to energy
Kintu
a submersible pump is dropped a borehole and hits the level of water at the bottom of the borehole 5 seconds later.determine the level of water in the borehole
Obrian Reply
what is power?
aron Reply
power P = Work done per second W/ t. It means the more power, the stronger machine
Sphere
e.g. heart Uses 2 W per beat.
Rohit
A spherica, concave shaving mirror has a radius of curvature of 32 cm .what is the magnification of a persons face. when it is 12cm to the left of the vertex of the mirror
Alona Reply
did you solve?
Shii
1.75cm
Ridwan
my name is Abu m.konnek I am a student of a electrical engineer and I want you to help me
Abu
the magnification k = f/(f-d) with focus f = R/2 =16 cm; d =12 cm k = 16/4 =4
Sphere
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
hi
Godfred
what about the wind vane
Godfred
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
it usually measured in degrees
Mahmud
it is also a property of vector quantities
Mahmud
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
Practice Key Terms 2

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?

Ask