Register to reply

Potential spring energy

by Ry122
Tags: energy, potential, spring
Share this thread:
May11-09, 12:25 AM
P: 517
a cord with a spring constant of 100N/m has a 2.0kg block suspended from it.
the length of the cord when it is unstretched is .5m.
the block is released. determine the length of the cord when it is at the maximum length of elongation.

my attempt:
first determine the kinetic energy of the block just before the block reaches the point where
the cord begins to elongate beyond the length of .5m
it is after this point that kinetic energy then begins to be converted into potential spring energy in the cord.
it is this energy combined with the weight of the block that are going to determine the maximum length of elongation of the cord. this is because when all of the kinetic energy of the block is turned into potential spring energy the only remaining force that would cause the cord to further elongate would be the weight of the block pulling down on the cord.
First, to determine the extension of the spring due to the weight of the block
use f=kx
9.8 x 2 = 100x
then to determine the energy that this causes to be stored in the cord use
1/2(100)(.196)^2=.98 J
this energy combined with the energy that the kinetic energy provides should determine the total length of elongation of the cord
.98 + (2 x 9.8 x .5) = 1/2(100)x^2
can someone tell me where im going wrong?
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on
World's largest solar boat on Greek prehistoric mission
Google searches hold key to future market crashes
Mineral magic? Common mineral capable of making and breaking bonds
May11-09, 03:05 PM
P: 675
Don't use forces in an energy conservation set up. Start with initial energy and then do the final energy where the mass is stretched to its farthest...

KE = kinetic energy
GPE = gravitation potential energy
SPE = spring potential energy

Initial Energy: KE = 0 (because it starts from rest), GPE = mgh (starts from height 'h'), and SPE = 0 (spring is starting at equilibrium)

Final Energy: KE = 0 (reached max distance so speed is 0), GPE = 0 (fell as far as it will go), SPE = (1/2)*k*h^2 (now it is a distance 'h' from the equilibrium point)

You equate the energies due to energy conservation and solve for the longest displacement from equilibrium. Then you need to remember that the question is asking for the full length of the string when it is stretched this much.
May11-09, 04:24 PM
P: 517
what's wrong with using forces in an energy conservation set up? why doesn't doing it that way yield the correct answer?

May11-09, 05:22 PM
P: 675
Potential spring energy

You can use forces to solve for it or use conservation of energy. Both will get you the right answer. But there is no use mixing them together. One deals with vectors and the other uses scalars. You would just be doing more work than necessary.

Register to reply

Related Discussions
Potential Energy and Spring Introductory Physics Homework 4
Potential Energy of a Spring... Introductory Physics Homework 8
Spring Potential Energy Introductory Physics Homework 1
Spring Potential Energy Advanced Physics Homework 1
Potential energy of a spring,POTENTIAL ENERGY OF LOADING Classical Physics 3