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Physics 2015: Mechanical Energy Conservation Purpose Study energy conservation by looking at the relationship between three different types of energy: Gravitational potential energy (GPE) Elastic potential energy (EPE) Kinetic energy (KE) Physics 2015: Mechanical Energy Conservation Energy is “conserved” if we can add up all of the different types of energy present in a closed system and see that the total sum remains constant. A “closed system” is one where no energy is added to or taken away from the system (in our case, a system with negligible friction) The types of energy will change depending on the setup. Ours were listed on the previous slide. Physics 2015: Mechanical Energy Conservation Different Energy Types • Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE) (relative to a vertical level where h=0) GPE m g h Your choice where that is – be smart about it! • Elastic Potential Energy (EPE) (k=spring constant x=distance stretched) • Kinetic Energy (KE) (m=mass v= velocity) 1 EPE k x 2 2 1 2 KE m v 2 • Heat Energy (Friction can turn KE into heat energy, for example) Physics 2015: Mechanical Energy Conservation Our Setup in the Lab photogate Note as the system is released, the quantity GPE+EPE+KE should stay the same. We will be able to measure all three energies (and thus their sum) at two different points of the cart’s travel and compare. Physics 2015: Mechanical Energy Conservation Activity I - Find the spring constant k Hook’s law: F=-kx Attach different masses. Measure the change of length of the spring compared to it’s un-stretched length. You can plot your data in Excel and use linear regression to find the slope k. measured m calculated measured mg x mg slope = k x Physics 2015: Mechanical Energy Conservation Activity II - Conserving Energy. photogate Decide where you want to make your GPE=0. A good choice will make your calculations a lot easier. Measure all masses (including the mass of the cart). Set photogate such that the cart will pass through it (to measure it’s velocity) as the hanging mass accelerates the cart to the left. Physics 2015: Mechanical Energy Conservation Hints % Energy change E final Einitial mh g x mh mass of hanging mass x change of the spring length change of height of hanging mass If you do find an energy change, ask whether your “system” was totally “closed”. Was some form of energy not accounted for?