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Gravitational Potential Energy


Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the following terms: gravitational potential energy, base level, ground level, total mechanical energy.
  2. To be able to distinguish between ground level and an arbitrary base level.
  3. To understand that the work done on an object as it is raised vertically results in an equivalent increase in gravitational potential energy.
  4. To be able to solve problems relating to gravitational potential energy, and to its relationship with kinetic energy and total mechanical energy.

Lessons Questions
Online Activities Evaluation

Key Concepts:

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.




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