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W net = W nc + W c , size 12{W rSub { size 8{"net"} } =W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } +W rSub { size 8{c} } } {}

so that

W nc + W c = Δ KE , size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } +W rSub { size 8{c} } =Δ"KE"} {}

where W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is the total work done by all nonconservative forces and W c size 12{W rSub { size 8{c} } } {} is the total work done by all conservative forces.

A person pushing a heavy box up an incline. A force F p applied by the person is shown by a vector pointing up the incline. And frictional force f is shown by a vector pointing down the incline, acting on the box.
A person pushes a crate up a ramp, doing work on the crate. Friction and gravitational force (not shown) also do work on the crate; both forces oppose the person’s push. As the crate is pushed up the ramp, it gains mechanical energy, implying that the work done by the person is greater than the work done by friction.

Consider [link] , in which a person pushes a crate up a ramp and is opposed by friction. As in the previous section, we note that work done by a conservative force comes from a loss of gravitational potential energy, so that W c = Δ PE size 12{W rSub { size 8{c} } = - Δ"PE"} {} . Substituting this equation into the previous one and solving for W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} gives

W nc = Δ KE + Δ PE. size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } =Δ"KE"+Δ"PE"} {}

This equation means that the total mechanical energy ( KE + PE ) size 12{ \( "KE + PE" \) } {} changes by exactly the amount of work done by nonconservative forces. In [link] , this is the work done by the person minus the work done by friction. So even if energy is not conserved for the system of interest (such as the crate), we know that an equal amount of work was done to cause the change in total mechanical energy.

We rearrange W nc = Δ KE + Δ PE size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } =D"KE"+D"PE"} {} to obtain

KE i + PE i + W nc = KE f + PE f . size 12{"KE""" lSub { size 8{i} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{i} } +W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } ="KE""" lSub { size 8{f} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{f} } } {}

This means that the amount of work done by nonconservative forces adds to the mechanical energy of a system. If W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is positive, then mechanical energy is increased, such as when the person pushes the crate up the ramp in [link] . If W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is negative, then mechanical energy is decreased, such as when the rock hits the ground in [link] (b). If W nc size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } } {} is zero, then mechanical energy is conserved, and nonconservative forces are balanced. For example, when you push a lawn mower at constant speed on level ground, your work done is removed by the work of friction, and the mower has a constant energy.

Applying energy conservation with nonconservative forces

When no change in potential energy occurs, applying KE i + PE i + W nc = KE f + PE f size 12{"KE""" lSub { size 8{i} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{i} } +W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } ="KE""" lSub { size 8{f} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{f} } } {} amounts to applying the work-energy theorem by setting the change in kinetic energy to be equal to the net work done on the system, which in the most general case includes both conservative and nonconservative forces. But when seeking instead to find a change in total mechanical energy in situations that involve changes in both potential and kinetic energy, the previous equation KE i + PE i + W nc = KE f + PE f size 12{"KE""" lSub { size 8{i} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{i} } +W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } ="KE""" lSub { size 8{f} } +"PE" rSub { size 8{f} } } {} says that you can start by finding the change in mechanical energy that would have resulted from just the conservative forces, including the potential energy changes, and add to it the work done, with the proper sign, by any nonconservative forces involved.

Calculating distance traveled: how far a baseball player slides

Consider the situation shown in [link] , where a baseball player slides to a stop on level ground. Using energy considerations, calculate the distance the 65.0-kg baseball player slides, given that his initial speed is 6.00 m/s and the force of friction against him is a constant 450 N.

A baseball player slides to stop in a distance d. the displacement d is shown by a vector towards the left and frictional force f on the player is shown by a small vector pointing towards the right equal to four hundred and fifty newtons. K E is equal to half m v squared, which is equal to f times d.
The baseball player slides to a stop in a distance d size 12{d} {} . In the process, friction removes the player’s kinetic energy by doing an amount of work fd size 12{ ital "fd"} {} equal to the initial kinetic energy.


Friction stops the player by converting his kinetic energy into other forms, including thermal energy. In terms of the work-energy theorem, the work done by friction, which is negative, is added to the initial kinetic energy to reduce it to zero. The work done by friction is negative, because f size 12{f} {} is in the opposite direction of the motion (that is, θ = 180º size 12{q="180"°} {} , and so cos θ = 1 size 12{"cos"θ= - 1} {} ). Thus W nc = fd size 12{W rSub { size 8{"nc"} } = - ital "fd"} {} . The equation simplifies to

1 2 mv i 2 fd = 0 size 12{ { {1} over {2} }  ital "mv" rSub { size 8{i} rSup { size 8{2} } } - ital "fd"=0} {}


fd = 1 2 mv i 2 . size 12{ ital "fd"= { {1} over {2} }  ital "mv" rSub { size 8{i} rSup { size 8{2} } } "." } {}

This equation can now be solved for the distance d size 12{d} {} .


Solving the previous equation for d size 12{d} {} and substituting known values yields

d = mv i 2 2 f = ( 65.0 kg ) ( 6 . 00 m/s ) 2 ( 2 ) ( 450 N ) = 2.60 m. alignl { stack { size 12{d= { { ital "mv" rSub { size 8{i} rSup { size 8{2} } } } over {2f} } } {} #= { { \( "65" "." 0" kg" \) \( 6 "." "00"" m/s" \) rSup { size 8{2} } } over { \( 2 \) \( "450"" N" \) } } {} # " "=" 2" "." "60 m" "." {}} } {}


The most important point of this example is that the amount of nonconservative work equals the change in mechanical energy. For example, you must work harder to stop a truck, with its large mechanical energy, than to stop a mosquito.

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Questions & Answers

When using the Conservation of Energy equation, do we substitute the energy as a negative quantity when the energies on a single object are exerting forces opposite to one another?
Jennifer Reply
Ex. On an inclined plane, gravitational potential energy, friction energy/work and spring potential energy. (Let's say that the spring is keeping the box from sliding down the slope.) How do we use this in the equation? I'm so confused
Oh! And if there's kinetic energy that is exerting a force opposite to the spring, what do we do?
why is it dat when using double pan balance the known and unknown mass are the same
Victor Reply
discuss the uses of energy in the following sectors of economy security and education
is there more then 4 dimensions
Miguel Reply
hello I kinda need help in physics... a lot
Brown. what kind of help
when it comes to physics stick with the basics don't overthink things
sticking to the basics will take you farther than overwhelming yourself with more than you need to physics is simple keep it simple
thk u Ayesha
for real....? so I've got to know the fundamentals and use the formula to solve any problem
read Stephan hawkings a brief history of time
it'll help you understand better than summing up formulas or ready textbooks
physics isn't hard it's just understanding and applying the formulas if u need help ask any question
okay...because I've got an exam next year February a Computer based exam
start with a pace a plan and stick to it
well best of luck can't help you much there contact your teachers for tips and helpful notes
how can we find absolute uncertainty
ayesha Reply
it what?
in physics
the basic formula is uncertainty in momentum multiplied buy uncertainty In position is greater than or equal to 4×pi/2. same formula for energy and time
I have this one question can you please look it up it's 9702/22/O/N/17 Question 1 B 3
would you like physics?
precision or absolute uncertainty is always equal to least count of that instrument
how do I unlock the MCQ and the Essay?
Ojeh Reply
what is the dimension of strain
Joy Reply
Is there a formula for time of free fall given that the body has initial velocity? In other words, formula for time that takes a downward-shot projectile to hit the ground. Thanks!
Cyclone Reply
sup guys
What is unit of watt?
watt is the unit of power
watt can also be expressed as Nm/s
what s i unit of mass
SI unit of mass is Kg(kilogram).
what is formula of distance
Formula for for the falling body with initial velocity is:v^2=v(initial)^2+2*g*h
i can't understand
we can't do this calculation without knowing the height of the initial position of the particle
sorry but no more in science
2 forces whose resultant is 100N, are at right angle to each other .if one of them makes an angle of 30 degree with the resultant determine it's magnitude
Victor Reply
50 N... (50 *1.732)N
Plz cheak the ans and give reply..
50 N...(50 *1.732)N
show the working
what is the value of f1 and f2
what is the value of force 1 and force 2.
Is earth is an inertial frame?
Sahim Reply
The abacus (plural abaci or abacuses), also called a counting frame, is a calculating tool that was in use in Europe, China and Russia, centuries before the adoption of the written Hindu–Arabic numeral system
Most welcome
Hey.. I've a question.
Sahim Reply
Is earth inertia frame?
only the center
What is an abucus?
what would be the correct interrogation "what is time?" or "how much has your watch ticked?"
prakash Reply
someone please give answer to this.
a load of 20N on a wire of cross sectional area 8×10^-7m produces an extension of 10.4m. calculate the young modules of the material of the wire is of length 5m
Ebenezer Reply
Young's modulus = stress/strain strain = extension/length (x/l) stress = force/area (F/A) stress/strain is F l/A x
so solve it
two bodies x and y start from rest and move with uniform acceleration of a and 4a respectively. if the bodies cover the same distance in terms of tx and ty what is the ratio of tx to ty
Oluwatola Reply
what is cesium atoms?
prakash Reply
The atoms which form the element Cesium are known as Cesium atoms.
A material that combines with and removes trace gases from vacuum tubes.
what is difference between entropy and heat capacity
Heat capacity can be defined as the amount of thermal energy required to warm the sample by 1°C. entropy is the disorder of the system. heat capacity is high when the disorder is high.
I want learn physics
Vinodhini Reply
sir how to understanding clearly
try to imagine everything you study in 3d
pls give me one title
displacement acceleration how understand
vernier caliper usage practically
karthik sir is there
what are the solution to all the exercise..?
Practice Key Terms 2

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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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