The product of the force on an object and the displacement the object undergoes along the direction of the force.

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38
votes
8answers
7k views

Why does holding something up cost energy while no work is being done?

I read the definition of work as $$W ~=~ \vec{F} \cdot \vec{d}$$ $$\text{ Work = (Force) $\cdot$ (Distance)}.$$ If a book is there on the table, no work is done as no distance is covered. If I ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is there a $\frac 1 2$ in $\frac 1 2 mv^2$?

For elastic collisions of n particles, we know that momentum in the three orthogonal directions are independently conserved:$$ \frac{d}{dt}\sum\limits_i^n m_iv_{ij} =0,\quad j=1,2,3$$ From this, it ...
41
votes
8answers
3k views

How can Magnets be used to pick up pieces of metal when the force from a magnetic field does no work?

I learned that the force from magnetic fields does no work. However I was wondering how magnets can be used to pick up pieces of metal like small paperclips and stuff. I also was wondering how magnets ...
1
vote
3answers
7k views

Thermodynamics - Sign convention

I use the sign convention: Heat absorbed by the system = $q+$ (positive) Heat evolved by the system = $q-$ (negative) Work done on the system = $w +$ (positive) Work done by the system = $w -$ ...
23
votes
4answers
4k views

Does a magnetic field do work on an intrinsic magnetic dipole?

When you release a magnetic dipole in a nonuniform magnetic field, it will accelerate. I understand that for current loops (and other such macroscopic objects) the magnetic moment comes from moving ...
-5
votes
4answers
711 views

Violation of Newton's Second Law (?) [closed]

Here the big circle denotes the circular path of a stone (small circle on path) tied to a string from the centre of the circular path. This is COMPLETELY HORIZONTAL At an instant the velocity in ...
1
vote
2answers
179 views

How can I understand work conceptually?

I'm in a mechanical physics class, and I'm having a hard time understanding what the quantity of work represents. How can I understand it conceptually?
6
votes
4answers
493 views

What exactly is $F$ in $W = \int_{a}^{b} F dx$?

I am trying to teach myself some basic physics, here is something I do not really understand about the definition of work: When moving from $a$ to $b$ (in one dimension), the work done is defined to ...
8
votes
3answers
731 views

Number of planks required to stop the bullet [closed]

A bullet looses (1/n)th of its velocity passing through one plank. The number of such planks that are required to stop the bullet can be? Logically, to me the answer seems to be infinity, as always a ...
8
votes
3answers
702 views

Intuitively Understanding Work and Energy

It is easy to understand the concepts of momentum and impulse. The formula $mv$ is simple, and easy to reason about. It has an obvious symmetry to it. The same cannot be said for kinetic energy, ...
7
votes
3answers
556 views

Bird flying in a cage

Assume that you are holding a cage containing a bird. Do you have to make less effort if the bird flies from its position in the cage and manages to stay in the middle without touching the walls of ...
4
votes
1answer
485 views

A Question about Virtual Work related to Newton's Third Law

In describing D'Alembert's principle, the lecture note I was provided with states that the total force $\mathbb F_l$ acting on a particle can be taken as, $$\mathbb F_l=F_l+\sum_mf_{ml}+C_l,$$ ...
8
votes
2answers
236 views

What is the mechanism by which magnetic fields do work?

I've seen some conflicted answers to this question in texts and on the web, in the case of a dipole, for example. Do magnetic fields do work directly, or is it their induced electric fields that do ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

What is Work? What does the quantity suggest intuitively? [duplicate]

The mathematical formula for work says that work is force into displacement, but what is the philosophy behind it? I mean what does the quantity suggest?
4
votes
3answers
181 views

When can one write $a=v \cdot dv/dx$?

Referring to unidimensional motion, it is obvious that it doesn't always make sense to write the speed as a function of position. Seems to me that this is a necessary condition to derive formulas ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Work done by the Magnetic Force

The magnetic part of the Lorentz force acts perpendicular to the charge's velocity, and consequently does zero work on it. Can we extrapolate this statement to say that such a nature of the force ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Proof of conservation of energy?

How is it proved to be always true? It's a fundamental principle in Physics, that is based on all of our currents observations of multiple systems in the universe, is it always true to all systems? ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the normal force a conservative force?

Most of the time the normal force doesn't do any work because it's perpendicular to the direction of motion but if it does do work, would it be conservative or non-conservative? For example, consider ...
5
votes
5answers
6k views

Why there is a 1/2 in kinetic energy formula? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is there a $\frac 1 2$ in $\frac 1 2 mv^2$? Hèllo, I have a question about kinetic energy formula. As you know, in kinetic energy formula, we have: ...
1
vote
6answers
973 views

Electrostatic Potential Energy Derivation

How is the boxed step , physically as well as mathematically justified and correct ? Source:Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_potential_energy As work done = $- \Delta U $. for Conservative ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is energy the ability to do work?

Here was my argument against this, the second law of thermodynamics, in effect says that, there is no heat engine that can take all of some energy that was transferred to it by heat and do work on ...
4
votes
4answers
221 views

Why does it require such little energy to create the fastest thing in the universe?

I have noticed when I turn on the light switch in my house light comes from the bulb. How is this light created?(process occurring in the bulb) and why is this small amount of electricity enough to ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How to understand the work-energy theorem?

How to understand the work-energy theorem? I took a short lecture on physics for engineering last week. The lecturer emphasized that the work done on an object will cause the kinetic energy change as ...
8
votes
4answers
411 views

On the definition of work

Work is defined as $$W = \vec{F}\cdot\vec{s}$$ But what what exactly is $\vec{s}$? Is it the displacement of the body on which the force is being applied? Or is it the displacement of the point of ...
3
votes
2answers
267 views

How to reconcile the two definitions of work? (mechanical and thermodynamical)

When studying classical mechanics, work is defined as: $W_M=\int F_{tot} \hspace{2 mm} dx$. However, for thermodynamics, work is defined as: $W_T=\int -F_{ext} \hspace{2 mm} dx$. I'm having trouble ...
2
votes
3answers
824 views

Why doesn't static friction decelerate a rolling body?

I know that static friction isn't the cause of deceleration of a rolling body. But if static friction is the only force in the horizontal direction, then shouldn't there be some acceleration produced ...
1
vote
2answers
213 views

Increase in velocity by loss of mass? [closed]

A trolley of mass 300kg carrying a sand bag of 25kg is moving uniformly with speed of 27km/h on a frictionless track. After a while, sand starts leaking out of a hole on the floor of the trolley at ...
1
vote
1answer
878 views

Work in circular motions

Suppose that a satellite circles around a planet that exerts $2000N$ of gravitational force on the satellite. I understand the fact that since the circular motion and the centripetal force are ...
1
vote
2answers
242 views

Signs in proof of gravitation potential energy (GPE)

Proof of gravitational potential energy. Work done by gravity in bringing mass from infinity to a distance of $r$ between masses. When we use the integration formula and arrive at the answer we ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Work, Energy & Power - Body slides down a hemisphere

A small body of mass $m$ slides down from the top of a hemisphere of radius $r$. There is no friction between the surface of the block and the hemisphere. The height at which the body loses contact ...
0
votes
1answer
726 views

Can internal forces do work?

My Mechanics textbook claims that the sum of the work by internal forces is not generally zero. translated to English the paragraph reads: Notice about the work by internal forces: the work by ...
0
votes
1answer
5k views

How much work is needed to compress a certain volume of gas?

I want to know the formula (and what does the symbols stand for) for how much work is needed to compress a certain volume of gas?
0
votes
2answers
6k views

Work done by spring over distance

I'm working through a problem involving energy conservation. Unfortunately, I cannot calculate the work done by a spring. ...