Examples of Conservative and Nonconservative Forces Such abstract principles might be confusing. In order to clarify these two very important concepts, we will examine two forces: gravity, a conservative force, and friction, a nonconservative one. Gravity Gravity is the most common conservative force, and to demonstrate that it is conservative is relatively simple. Consider first a ball thrown up into the air. On the ball's trip upward, gravity works against the motion of the ball, producing a total work of - mgh . This negative work causes the ball to slow down until it stops, reverses direction and begins to fall. During its fall, the force of gravity is in the same direction as the motion of the ball, and the gravitational force does positive work of magnitude mgh , accelerating ball until it reaches the ground with the same speed with which it left. What is the net work done by gravity on the ball over this closed loop?
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course PHY PHY2053 taught by Professor Davidjudd during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.