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# 7energy - Gravitational Potential Energy Gravitational...

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1 Gravitational Potential Energy 1 Gravitational Potential Energy 2 Gravitational Potential Energy Potential energy exists whenever an object which has mass has a position within a force field. The most everyday example of this is the position of objects in the earth's gravitational field. The potential energy of an object in this case is given by the relation: 3 PE = mgh where PE = Energy (in Joules) m = mass (in kilograms) g = gravitational acceleration of the earth (9.8 m/sec 2 ) h = height above earth's surface (in meters) 4

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2 5 Gravitational Potential Energy Change in gravitational potential energy does not depend on the path A conservative force is one with this property: the work 6 A conservative force is one with this property: the work done by the force does not depend on the path. conservative: gravity, electrostatic force, spring force…, Non-conservative: friction, drag, Work Done Lifting Now, work is force times displacement. The force that you apply is equal to the weight of the object. The weight of the object is its mass times the acceleration due to gravity. And the displacement over which this work is done is the height of the lift. So, the work done lifting an object is equal to its mass times the acceleration due to gravity times the height of the lift. This is summarized below:
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7energy - Gravitational Potential Energy Gravitational...

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