# potential - P OTENTIAL E NERGY E XPRESSIONS By definition,...

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P OTENTIAL E NERGY E XPRESSIONS By definition, the work done by a “conservative” force F between two states, 1 and 2, is INDEPENDENT of the path taken by the point A at which the force F acts. 1 2 different possible paths for point A between states 1 and 2 A F A F A F A consequence of this is that the work W 1 2 (c) done by a conservative force depends only on the initial and final positions of the point A; in fact, this work can be written as the difference between the so-called “potential energy” functions at positions 1 and 2: W 1 2 (c) = U 1 - U 2 In this course, we will deal primarily with two types of conservative forces: a) gravitational forces, and b) spring forces. Details of the potential energy functions for these two types of conservative forces are given below. a) Potential energy due to gravitational forces The potential energy corresponding to the work of the gravitational force mg on a body having a mass m is given by: U = mgh where h is the height of the center of mass G of the body above an arbitrarily chosen datum line:

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potential - P OTENTIAL E NERGY E XPRESSIONS By definition,...

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