Register to reply

Energy Stored in a spring

by GeneralOJB
Tags: energy, spring, stored
Share this thread:
Jan2-13, 05:05 AM
P: 42
Why is the energy stored in a spring 1/2 * distance * force? Isn't work just force * distance?
Phys.Org News Partner Physics news on
Step lightly: All-optical transistor triggered by single photon promises advances in quantum applications
The unifying framework of symmetry reveals properties of a broad range of physical systems
What time is it in the universe?
Jan2-13, 05:42 AM
P: 960
Quote Quote by GeneralOJB View Post
Why is the energy stored in a spring 1/2 * distance * force? Isn't work just force * distance?
The full force is not applied for the full distance.

In the simple case of a constant force over a fixed distance you can just multiply force by distance. But in the case of a spring being compressed, the force is not constant.

You could approximate the answer by analyzing the situation in small steps... You compress the spring the first 1/10th of the distance using 1/10th of the full force, the next 1/10th of the instance using 2/10th of the total force and so on. This approach would give you an answer that is pretty close.

An exact answer can be obtained by using calculus and integrating instantaneous force over incremental distance. That answer turns out to be 1/2 * distance * maximum-force
Jan2-13, 05:53 AM
P: 42
Thanks, I understand now.

Register to reply

Related Discussions
Stored spring energy Introductory Physics Homework 4
Energy stored while loading a spring Introductory Physics Homework 4
Stored energy in a spring Classical Physics 6
Energy stored in a spring Introductory Physics Homework 11
Potential energy stored in a spring... Introductory Physics Homework 1