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  • Explain how an object must be displaced for a force on it to do work.
  • Explain how relative directions of force and displacement determine whether the work done is positive, negative, or zero.

What it means to do work

The scientific definition of work differs in some ways from its everyday meaning. Certain things we think of as hard work, such as writing an exam or carrying a heavy load on level ground, are not work as defined by a scientist. The scientific definition of work reveals its relationship to energy—whenever work is done, energy is transferred.

For work, in the scientific sense, to be done, a force must be exerted and there must be displacement in the direction of the force.

Formally, the work    done on a system by a constant force is defined to be the product of the component of the force in the direction of motion times the distance through which the force acts . For one-way motion in one dimension, this is expressed in equation form as

W = F cos θ d , size 12{W= lline F rline left ("cos"θ right ) lline d rline } {}

where W size 12{W} {} is work, d size 12{d} {} is the displacement of the system, and θ size 12{θ} {} is the angle between the force vector F size 12{F} {} and the displacement vector d size 12{d} {} , as in [link] . We can also write this as

W = Fd cos θ . size 12{W= ital "Fd"" cos"θ} {}

To find the work done on a system that undergoes motion that is not one-way or that is in two or three dimensions, we divide the motion into one-way one-dimensional segments and add up the work done over each segment.

What is work?

The work done on a system by a constant force is the product of the component of the force in the direction of motion times the distance through which the force acts . For one-way motion in one dimension, this is expressed in equation form as

W = Fd cos θ , size 12{W= ital "Fd"" cos"θ} {}

where W size 12{W} {} is work, F size 12{F} {} is the magnitude of the force on the system, d size 12{d} {} is the magnitude of the displacement of the system, and θ size 12{q} {} is the angle between the force vector F size 12{F} {} and the displacement vector d size 12{d} {} .

Five drawings labeled a through e. In (a), person pushing a lawn mower with a force F. Force is represented by a vector making an angle theta with the horizontal and displacement of the mower is represented by vector d. The component of vector F along vector d is F cosine theta. Work done by the person W is equal to F d cosine theta. (b) A person is standing with a briefcase in his hand. The force F shown by a vector arrow pointing upwards starting from the handle of briefcase and the displacement d is equal to zero. (c) A person is walking holding the briefcase in his hand. Force vector F is in the vertical direction starting from the handle of briefcase and displacement vector d is in horizontal direction starting from the same point as vector F. The angle between F and d theta is equal to 90 degrees. Cosine theta is equal to zero. (d) A briefcase is shown in front of a set of stairs. A vector d starting from the first stair points along the incline of the stair and a force vector F is in vertical direction starting from the same point as vector d. The angle between them is theta. A component of vector F along vector d is F d cosine theta. (e) A briefcase is shown lowered vertically down from an electric generator. The displacement vector d points downwards and force vector F points upwards acting on the briefcase.
Examples of work. (a) The work done by the force F size 12{F} {} on this lawn mower is Fd cos θ size 12{ ital "Fd""cos"θ} {} . Note that F cos θ size 12{F"cos"θ} {} is the component of the force in the direction of motion. (b) A person holding a briefcase does no work on it, because there is no displacement. No energy is transferred to or from the briefcase. (c) The person moving the briefcase horizontally at a constant speed does no work on it, and transfers no energy to it. (d) Work is done on the briefcase by carrying it up stairs at constant speed, because there is necessarily a component of force F size 12{F} {} in the direction of the motion. Energy is transferred to the briefcase and could in turn be used to do work. (e) When the briefcase is lowered, energy is transferred out of the briefcase and into an electric generator. Here the work done on the briefcase by the generator is negative, removing energy from the briefcase, because F size 12{F} {} and d size 12{d} {} are in opposite directions.

To examine what the definition of work means, let us consider the other situations shown in [link] . The person holding the briefcase in [link] (b) does no work, for example. Here d = 0 size 12{d=0} {} , so W = 0 size 12{W=0} {} . Why is it you get tired just holding a load? The answer is that your muscles are doing work against one another, but they are doing no work on the system of interest (the “briefcase-Earth system”—see Gravitational Potential Energy for more details). There must be displacement for work to be done, and there must be a component of the force in the direction of the motion. For example, the person carrying the briefcase on level ground in [link] (c) does no work on it, because the force is perpendicular to the motion. That is, cos 90 º = 0 size 12{"cos""90""°="0} {} , and so W = 0 size 12{W=0} {} .

Questions & Answers

What are the two major system units in the world
Jizel Reply
What is physical quantities
Jizel
Who is the father of physics
Gabriel Reply
Newton.Geliliyo and Einstein is called father of physics
Neha
Newtin
Jizel
Einstein
Jizel
what is wave
Charity Reply
a wave is a distirbance that transmits energy from one place ro another within or without a medium
Vincent
wave is the transfer of energy from one medium to another without the transfer of particles
ZIFAC
wave is a disturbance which transfer energy from one medium to another without causing any permanent displacement by itself
Joyfulsounds
wave is a disturbance or oscillation that travel through space and matter,accompanied by a transfer of energy
Ridwan
A wave is any disturbances in an elastic medium which carries energy from one point to another through a medium
abdul
what is harmonic motion
Nozyani
is a restoring force
Joyfulsounds
a wave is a disturbance and there are trasfer energy from one medium to another and travel through any space without the trasfer of particles.
Neha
a wave is a disturbance that travels or carries energy from one point to another through a medium
Wisdom
A moving disturbance in the level of a body water, undulation
Jizel
what is thermodynamics
Williams Reply
what is thermodynamics
Charity
thermodynamics is a heat and energy significant physics
Neha
Relating to the conversation of heat into other forms of energy
Jizel
Are the antimatters of Hadrons also Hadrons?!Does the same rule apply to Leptons?
Daniel Reply
yes. Hadrons are the elementary particles that take part in stong, electromagnetic and weak interactions. Infact only Hadrons are involved in Strong interactions and when an anti-particle of any hadron is produced, it would be a hadron-conservations laws. Leptons are involved in weak int and follow
Lalita
what is physics
Sade
physic is a pure science that deal with behavior of matter,energy & how it related to other physical properties
Ridwan
Owk. But am are Art student.
Hussaini
What happens when an aeroplanes window is opened at cruise altitude?
Theophilus Reply
what is the minimum speed for any object to travel in time?
Pankaj Reply
as per theory of relativity, minimum speed will be the speed of light
Mr.
what is physics
Lote Reply
it is just a branch of science which deals with the reasons behind the daily activities taking place everyday in our lives. it clearly states the reason in the form of laws.
sandhya
?
lkpostpost2000@yahoo
like Newton's laws , Kepler's laws etc....
sandhya
physics is the study of motion or moving things. Usually the moving things are normal items like vars or planets but sometimes it's electricity or heat that moves.
Jake
physics is one of the most significant diciplines of natural science which describe the nature and its matter
Neha
I would describe it as the science that is interested in the fundamental laws of nature. For example, what is light, what is sound, what is electricity/magentism, what forces are at work on a specific body. The knowledge of the world around us makes it possible to fly, have cell phones, GPS, etc.
Robyn
what happens when an aeroplane takes off?
Kofi Reply
it flies
Mr.
the lift generated by the wing overcome the weight of the plane(in Newton)and a net force of upward is created
Phebilia
it is a direct application of Magnus effect (which helps in throwing curve balls) the wings of plane are made in such a way that the net flow of air is more below them rather than on their upper side. So when the plane accelerates, the flaps produce the upward lift when enough velocity is obtained
Mr.
then due to lower pressure on upper part of wings helps producing an additional lift because air flows from areaof lower to the area of higher pressure
Mr.
The engines located under the wings generate thrust .. in relation thrust is a force ... which ovwrcomes or becomes greater than the weight of the plane.. remember weight is a force Weight = m x g-2 So therefore F(thrust) becomes greater than F(weight) Even if by 1Newton the plane starts lifting o
Theophilus
what happens when a ship moves
Williams
What is the sign of an acceleration that reduces the magnitude of a negative velocity? Of a positive velocity?
Conwil Reply
If it reduces the magnitude of the velocity, the acceleration sign is the opposite compared to the velocity.
Nicolas
yes
Williams
what is accerelation
John Reply
an objects tendency to speed up over time
RayRay
acceleration is the change in velocity over the change in time it would be written delta-v over delta-t.
Shii
the change in velocity V over a period of time T.
Matthew
Delta means "change in"...not period of
Shii
just kidding. it all works mathematically
Shii
except doesn't time really only change if the instantaneous speeds vary...?
Shii
and I assume we are all talking average acceleration
Shii
Hey shiii 😀
conrad
the rate of change of velocity is callaed acceleration
Amna
a=delta v/delta t
Amna
the rate of change in velocity with respect to time is acceleration
Nana
nana you r right
Indrajit
good
oguji
what is meant by lost volt
Hardeyyemih Reply
Lost volt. Lol. It is the electrical energy lost due to the nature or the envirommental conditions (temperature and pressure) that affect the cable across which the potential difference is measured.
Theophilus
What is physics?
Bedabyas Reply
physics is brance science concerned with nature and properties of matter and energy
George
sure
Okpara
yah....
kashif
physics is study of the natural phenomenon on the basis of certain laws and principles. it's like watching a game of chess and trying to understand its rules how it's played.
Ajit
awesome
Okpara
physics is study of nature and it's law
AMRITA
physics is a branch of science that deals with the study of matter ,properties of matter and energy
Lote
Branch of science (study) of matter, motion and energy
Theophilus
what is a double-slit experiment?Explain.
Daniel Reply
when you pass a wave of any kind ie sound water light ect you get an interface pattern forming on a screen behind it, where the peaks and troughs add and cancel out due to the diffraction caused by a wave traveling through the slits
Luke
double slit experiment was done by YOUNG. And it's to give out monochromatic coherent, if an incoherent wave is passing through it. And then the waves form interference fringes. The screen placed in front of the double slit is preferably a film and then in the middle where "p=0" a brighter color
navid
is formed and then the constructive interferences occur at 0 (which is the brightest band)... then a sequence of bright band (constructive interference) and dark band (destructive interference) happens and the further from the central band the lower the intensity of bright band(constructive interfe
navid
what is photoelectric effect
Godwin Reply
the emission of electrons in some materials when light of suitable frequency falls on them
Hardeyyemih
The phenomenon that involves the emission of electrons (photoelectrons) when light of appropriate wavelength and frequency is incident on the surface of a metal.
ibrahim
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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