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# Work by Variable Force

Lesson 8

Announcements
HW #7 due today HW #8 due Monday

AP Physics B Standards

## I.C.1. Work and the Work Energy Theorem

a) Students should understand the definition of work, including when it is positive, negative, or zero, so they can:
(2) Relate the work done by a force to the area under a graph of force as a function of position, and calculate this work in the case where the force is a linear function of position. (3) Use the scalar product operation to calculate the work performed by a specified constant force F on an object that undergoes a displacement in a plane.

Lesson Objectives
Work by a Variable Force

LESSON 8:

## Students will be able to

1. 2. 3.

calculate work from a graph of force and displacement. determine the average force exerted over a displacement. determine the work exerted by a spring.

## Constant force and work

The graph illustrates a constant force that is pushing an object from xa to xb. The work can be calculated either with an equation, or with a graph.

F(x)

xa

xb

## Variable force and work

The graph illustrates a variable force that is pushing an object from xa to xb. The work can still be calculated with a graph; the equation can no longer be used directly.

F(x)

xa

xb

Springs

Springs are a common example of devices that exert variable forces. When a spring is stretched or compressed from its equilibrium position, it does negative work, since it pulls opposite the direction of motion.

Hookes Law

The force applied by a spring or other device that follows this law is proportional to its displacement from equilibrium. The force is in the opposite direction of displacement, as the spring attempts to move back to equilibrium. The spring constant, k, describes the stiffness of the spring.

F kx

Stretching a spring
0 F(N) 200 Fs = -kx (Hookes Law)

m m
x Fs

## 100 00 -100 -200 1 2 Fs 3 4 5 x (m)

Ws = area = - kx2

Compressing a spring?
0 F(N) 200

## 100 0 -100 -200 x (m)

Sample problem 8.1: A 10 cm-long spring hangs vertically from a support. If a 100 g mass is hung from the spring and slowly lowered, the spring will be 12.5 cm long. a) What is the force constant of the spring?

b)

Sample problem 8.1 (cont.): A 10 cm-long spring hangs vertically from a support. If a 100 g mass is attached to the spring and slowly lowered, the spring will be 12.5 cm long. How much work is done by gravity as the spring stretches?

c)

## How much work is done by the spring as the spring stretches?

d)

Can you explain why the relative magnitudes of the two amounts of work do not sum to zero?