Gravitational Potential Energy
- Define the following terms: gravitational potential energy, base level, ground level, total mechanical energy.
- To be able to distinguish between ground level and an arbitrary base level.
- To understand that the work done on an object as it is raised vertically results in an equivalent increase in gravitational potential energy.
- To be able to solve problems relating to gravitational potential energy, and to its relationship with kinetic energy and total mechanical energy.
In this unit students will increase their abilities to:
- Gravitational potential energy is energy stored as the result of the position of an object and may be calculated using Eg = mgh.
- The position of an object may be relative to ground level or some other arbitrary reference called a base level.
- The work done on an object, as it is raised vertically, results in an equivalent increase in gravitational potential energy.
- As an object is released from some height, it loses gravitational potential energy but gains kinetic energy - no net energy change.
- Total mechanical energy is the sum of the kinetic and gravitational potential energy.
- The Law of Conservation of Energy states that the total mechanical energy will remain constant when an object is released from some height.