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Potential Energy

Introduction


  • It is the energy of an object due to the virtue of its position, configuration and orientation.
  • It is denoted by 'u'.
  • There are various types of potential energy.

Examples of Potential Energy:

  1. Water stored in dams contain potential energy.
  2. Elongated or compressed spring also has potential energy.
  3. Objects placed at a height contain potential energy.
  4. Two charged particle separated at a distance contain potential energy.



Gravitational Potential Energy

It is the energy of an object due to its position. Its value is taken as 0 on the surface of the earth. It is given by a formula:

u = mgh 

u is the potential energy.
m is the mass of the object.
g is the acceleration due to gravity.
h is the height of an object.

Expression:

work = force * displacement
w = mg * h
(as work = potential energy)
Gravitation al Potential Energy = mgh

Factors affecting gravitational potential energy:

  1. It is directly proportional to the mass of the object.
  2. It is directly proportional to the height of the object.
  3. It is directly proportional to the acceleration due to gravity.


Elastic Potential Energy

It is the energy related to spring or elastic chord.
Elastic potential energy is given by a formula:
u = 1/2 k x^2
u is the energy
k is constant
x is displacement of spring