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Lesson: Kinetic

and Potential Energy of Motion

Introduction/Motivation
Begin by showing the class three items: 1) an item of food (such as a bagel, banana or can of soda water), 2) a battery, and 3) you, standing on a stool or chair. Ask the class what these three things have in common. The answer is energy. The food contains chemical energy that is used by the body as fuel. The battery contains electrical energy (in the form of electrical, potential or stored energy), which can be used by a flashlight or a portable CD player. A person standing on a stool has potential energy (sometimes called gravitational potential energy) that could be used to crush a can, smash the banana, or really hurt the foot of someone standing under you. Do a dramatic demonstration of jumping down on the banana or an empty soda can. (Be careful! Banana peels are slippery!) Explain the ideas of potential energy and kinetic energy as two different kinds of mechanical energy. Give definitions of each and present the equations, carefully explaining each variable, as discussed in the next section, PE = mass x g x height and

Explain how energy can be converted from one form to another. This should be clear from the jumping demonstration. You had potential energy (stored energy) when standing on the stool, which completely changed into kinetic energy (energy of motion) right before you landed on the ground. As a side note, the ground absorbed your energy when you landed and turned it into heat.

Lesson Background & Concepts for Teachers


Whenever something moves, you can see the change in energy of that system. Energy can make things move or cause a change in the position or state of an object. Energy can be defined as the capacity for doing work. Work is done when a force moves an object over a given distance. The capacity for work, or energy, can come in many different forms. Examples of such forms are mechanical, electrical, chemical or nuclear energy. This lesson introduces mechanical energy, the form of energy that is easiest to observe on a daily basis. All moving objects have mechanical energy. There are two types of mechanical energy: potential energy and kinetic energy. Potential energy is the energy that an object has because of its position and is measured in Joules (J). Potential energy can also be thought of as stored energy. Kinetic energy is the energy an object has because of its motion and is also measured in Joules (J). Due to the priciple of conservation of energy, energy can change its form (potential, kinetic, heat/thermal, electrical, light, sound, etc.) but it is never created or destroyed. Within the context of mechanical energy, potential energy is a result of an object's position, mass and the acceleration of gravity. A book resting on the edge of a table has potential energy; if you were to nudge it off the edge, the book would fall. It is sometimes called gravitational potential energy ( PE). It can be expressed mathematically as follows: PE = mass x g x height or PE = weight x height where PE is the potential energy, and g is the acceleration due to gravity. At sea level, g = 9.81 2 2 meters/sec or 32.2 feet/sec . In the metric system, we would commonly use mass in kilograms or grams with the first equation. With English units it is common to use weight in pounds with the second equation. Kinetic energy (KE) is energy of motion. Any object that is moving has kinetic energy. An example is a baseball that has been thrown. The kinetic energy depends on both mass and velocity and can be expressed mathematically as follows:

Here KE stands for kinetic energy. Note that a change in the velocity will have a much greater effect on the amount of kinetic energy because that term is squared. The total amount of mechanical energy in a system is the sum of both potential and kinetic energy, also measured in Joules (J).

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Total Mechanical Energy = Potential Energy + Kinetic Energy Engineers must understand both potential and kinetic energy. A simple example would be the design of a roller coaster a project that involves both mechanical and civil engineers. At the beginning of the roller coaster, the cars must have enough potential energy to power them for the rest of the ride. This can be done by raising the cars to a great height. Then, the increased potential energy of the cars is converted into enough kinetic energy to keep them in motion for the length of the track. This is why roller coaters usually start with a big hill. As the cars start down the first hill, potential energy is changed into kinetic energy and the cars pick up speed. Engineers design the roller coaster to have enough energy to complete the course and to overcome the energy-draining effect of friction.

ENERGY- Is the ability to cause change. Kinetic energy- energy in the form of motion (on the move) Example: A spinning bicycle, wheel, the sprinting cross- country runners and flying plastic disk all have kinetic energy. How much? That depends on the mass and velocity of the moving object. The greater the mass a moving object has, the more kinetic energy it has. Similarly, the greater an objects velocity, the more kinetic energy it has. The truck traveling at 100km/h in Figure1.1 has more kinetic energy than an identical motorcycle moving at 80km/h. ASK: The kinetic energy are the same?

Figure 1.1 the KE of each vehicle is diff because KE depends on mass and velocity. Potential energy- stored energy (ready and waiting) The amount of potential energy a sample of matter has depends on its position or its condition. A Flowerpot sitting on a 2nd floor windowsill has potential energy due to its position. If something knocks it off the windowsill, gravity will cause it to fall toward the ground. As it falls, its PE changes to KE. The potential energy of the flowerpot in Fig.1.2 is related to its distance above the ground. The greater its height, the greater its potential energy. A flowerpot sitting on fifth floor ledge has more potential energy than one sitting on a lower ledge. If a flowerpot falls, the force of gravity accelerates it downward. The higher the flowerpot, the greater its final velocity will be. Thus, a flowerpot falling from a higher floor will have a higher velocity and more KE when it hits the ground than a similar pot falling from a lower floor.