AST 111 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Elastic Energy, Potential Energy

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This chapter is to help have a better understanding of energy and its conservation. Consider particles a and b that interact with each other and nothing else. Since wext=0, we must define an energy associated with the interaction, called the potential energy, u. When internal forces in the system do work, this changed the potential energy. Consider two particles a and b that interact with each other and nothing else. If we define the system to include the interaction between the particles, then s these forces do work, the potential energy changes by the folowing equation. Where wint is the total work done inside the system by the interaction forces. The systems kinetic energy can increase if its potential energy decreases by the same amount. In effect, the interaction stores energy inside the system with the potential to be converted to kinetic energy hence the name potential energy.

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