Kinetic energy Definition and 263 Discussions

In physics, the kinetic energy of an object is the energy that it possesses due to its motion.
It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes. The same amount of work is done by the body when decelerating from its current speed to a state of rest.
In classical mechanics, the kinetic energy of a non-rotating object of mass m traveling at a speed v is





{\displaystyle {\begin{smallmatrix}{\frac {1}{2}}mv^{2}\end{smallmatrix}}}
. In relativistic mechanics, this is a good approximation only when v is much less than the speed of light.
The standard unit of kinetic energy is the joule, while the English unit of kinetic energy is the foot-pound.

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  1. A

    Finding the final speed of a space probe using work and kinetic energy

    First I found work: W=(3.85x10^5)(2.45x10^8) W= 9.43x10^13 Then used that for difference of kinetic energy: 9.43x10^13 = (1/2) (4.55x10^4)v2^2 - (1/2)(4.55x10^4)(1.22x10^4)^2 9.43x10^13 = (22750)v2^2 - 3.386x10^12 9.43x10^13 + 3.386x10^12 = (22750)v2^2 9.77x10^13 = 22750v2^2 9.77x10^13/22750...
  2. S

    Distance travelled by a car considering only air friction?

    TL;DR Summary: Distance traveled by a car considering only air friction? How much distance would a 3-ton car travel if its initial speed was 17 km/h and we only take into account air's friction? (Assume that the car has an airfoil-like shape, so that the resistance against the air is very low)...
  3. Ahmed1029

    I Time dependence of kinetic energy in Lagrangian formulation

    Could kinetic energy possibly depend explicitly on time in the lagrangian for some arbitrary set of generalized coordinates?
  4. Assaltwaffle

    I Question about transfer of Energy and Momentum in Ballistics

    My apologies if the prefix is too high of complexity. I don't know where this would fall, difficulty or academically speaking. While it may be surprising to some given Hollywood's portrayal of it in movies, if a person in wearing hard bulletproof armor is struck by a projectile, the person is...
  5. C

    A rocket on a spring, related to potential/kinetic energy

    Part A) So from a force diagram we can see that the only two forces acting in our system are the spring force(positive y axis) and the weight of the rocket(negative y axis), which means the spring force is equal and opposite to the weight force. The weight is simple enough ##12* 9.8=117.6N##...
  6. D

    Kinetic energy of hail stone

    I'm pretty sure the hailstones are likely to melt/disperse because 824 m/s is a high velocity but can someone help me elaborate why it would melt?
  7. Dario56

    I Kinetic Energy and Potential Energy of Electrons

    Time indepedendent Schrödinger equation for a system (atom or molecule) consisting of N electrons can be written as (with applying Born - Oppenheimer approximation): $$ [(\sum_{i=1}^N - \frac {h^2} {2m} \nabla _i ^2) + \sum_{i=1}^N V(r_i) + \sum_{i < j}^N U(r_i,r_j)] \Psi = E \Psi $$ Terms in...
  8. A

    Finding kinetic energy and initial velocity of a cart over time

    Here's my list of variables and things to account for: m=100kg Wnc=5000J Wfriction=-500J -Kinetic energy will be doubled (though I don't know how that plays into it exactly) -I don't think there's any PE because it's on level ground My idea of what the equation might be: Wnc +1/2mv^2initial =...
  9. rudransh verma

    B About verification on Kinetic energy and work

    1. From resnik, Halliday “Kinetic energy K is energy associated with the state of motion of an object. The faster the object moves , the greater is the kinetic energy” If I am right this means that greater the kinetic energy, greater is its speed. 2. Force transfers energy to the body due to...
  10. L

    Work and kinetic energy comprehension question

    Hello, I’ll start by saying I have the answers and the steps to the solutions, but there’s a comprehension disconnect somewhere that I’m trying to figure out. There are two parts to my question but the second one may not apply depending on the answer to the first. I wasn’t sure from the forum...
  11. MattGeo

    I Work Done/Energy Transferred in One Dimensional Collision

    I spend a lot of time thinking about collision problems because for me they are both extremely interesting and often very difficult to grasp when one thinks about them beyond the basics we are taught in introductory or even intermediate university courses. Suppose there is a perfectly elastic...
  12. mattlfang

    A bullet collides perfectly elastically with one end of a rod

    A bullet with mass m, velocity v perfectly elastically, vertically collide with one end of a rod on a slippery plane and the bullet stops moving after the collision. Find the mass of the stick M the bullet stops moving after an elastic collision, so all energy is transformed to the rod. There...
  13. Iwanttolearnphysics

    About KE and PE of a stone falling down a tube filled with oil

    This question does not have numbers, so I'm stumped. Here's my thinking. (I), the gain in KE is less than the loss in GPE is correct according to the key, but I think I don't understand this conceptually. Can you ask me questions to make me think about this a bit more? I can't even form...
  14. C

    B Colliding balls: Conservation of momentum and changes in kinetic energy?

    I got curious about firearm ballistics and googled something similar to "bullet momentum vs kinetic energy". IIRC, momentum P = mv (checked); and kE = (mv^2)/2 (also checked). So I essentially wondered if it's worse to get hit by a bullet with greater kE than by one with lesser kE, presuming...
  15. san12345

    Spring potential and kinetic energy

    please help me
  16. T

    Exponential potential energy state diagram

    It is my second "energy state diagram problem" and I would want to know if I am thinking correctly. First I have done some function analysis to get a glimpse of the plot: - no roots but ##\lim\limits_{x\to-\infty}U(x)=\lim\limits_{x\to+\infty}U(x)=0## - y interception: ##U(0)=-U_0## - even...
  17. P

    I Question about n rotating parallel cylinders

    There are n vertical identical parallel identical cilinders rotating around their length axes with the same angular velocity. The are somehow fixed wrt to Earth and brought together (on a rail?). After the contact there is no slipping and the cilinders are coupled to their neighbor cilinders. It...
  18. P

    Lagrangian mechanics - rotating rod

    Hello, It might sound silly, but when I try to calculate the kinetic energy of a rotating rod to form the Langrangian (and in general), why it has both translational and rotational kinetic energy? Is it because when I consider the moment of Inertia about the centre I need to include the...
  19. Soyuz42

    Why can I not use the work-kinetic energy theorem for this falling elevator problem?

    As stated, part (a) says that the work done by the gravitational force ##\vec{F_g}## is 59 kJ. If ##W_T## is the work done by the elevator cable during the 12 m fall, then using the work-kinetic energy theorem, \begin{align*} K_f -K_i &= W_g + W_T\\ \frac12m({v_f}^2 - {v_i}^2) &= 59000 + W_T\\...
  20. Mohammad Sakib

    Why the temperature of a car does not increase with velocity?

    We know temperature is a measure of average kinetic energy of molecules/particles of a system. Now if a car starts to move, its velocity increases so does its kinetic energy. Therefore all the molecules are gaining velocity too. Shouldn't this increase the temperatre as average kinetic energy of...
  21. AleksW

    What is the temperature change of a bullet upon impact?

    Summary:: What is the temperature change of a bullet upon impact. I have this problem to solve but I'm kinda stuck, would apricate any feedback. We fire a silver bullet with a muzzle speed of 200 ms−1 into a sack of sand. What is the temperature change of the bullet, if 40 % of its kinetic...
  22. A

    Confusion about tidal locking and rotational kinetic energy

    Hello! I was reading two things: 1) tidal locking (as explained in the Wikipedia article: where it is stated that, because of internal friction caused by the body of water being attracted to the moon and deforming, the kinetic energy of the system...
  23. J

    Using Orbital Energy to Calculate Velocity

    So what I did first was calculate the initial and final potential energies with Epi=-9.433*10^11 m and Epf = -1.503*10^12 m. Then I found change in potential energy, -5.597*10^11 m. Using this I determined the change in kinetic energy, 5.597*10^11. I then added this change to the initial...
  24. Amaterasu21

    At what size is kinetic energy no longer related to temperature?

    Hi all, I've read so many times that "temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules in a substance," or sometimes "particles" to encompass atoms and ions too. But how big can "molecules/particles" be before their kinetic energy is no longer relevant to temperature? If...
  25. H

    A Degrees of freedom of thin rods

    (Note: I had this question posted at the intermediate level of difficulty for 11 days, but got only one, cryptic (to me) response that was rather quickly removed. So, I figured perhaps it's actually an advanced question, requiring more than a cursory understanding.) Assuming they've had an...
  26. I

    Physics momentum problem -- Collision between 2 blocks that stick together

    So far I found the answer for a and b, but when I attempted to do the other ones I was completely lost. A.) P= MV M = 25g = .025kg V = 18 .025 * 18 = .45kg*m/s B.) KE= 1/2 mv^2 1/2 (.025)(18)^2 4.05 J
  27. N

    Energy and a spring

  28. T

    Finite quantum well, multiple choice question

    Homework Statement:: Consider an electron trapped in a one-dimensional finite well of width L. What is the minimum possible kinetic energy of the electron? A) 0 B) Between 0 and h^2/8mL^2 C) ≈h^2/8mL^2, but it is not possible to find the exact value because of the uncertainty principle D)...
  29. Prabs3257

    Kinetic energy as a function of time

    I got acceleration by dividing force by m then replaced a by dv/dt and then integrated it to get velocity as a fxn of time and hence got kinetic energy but problem is my ans does not match with any option can someone please compare their ans
  30. P

    Estimating the damage to a material based on force or kinetic energy

    I'm programming a game in which I'd like to simulate the real world physics of an attack using primarily medieval style weapons. Think dwarf fortress, but rather than assigning damage numbers we're calculating force or kinetic energy. Getting that much is easy enough since I can find the mass of...
  31. L

    Man jumping onto a see-saw to launch bricks vertically

    I drew a diagram for the a) part The person is h meters high So GPE= 100 x 9.8x h GPE= 980h j KE = 980h when the person hits the see saw KE=1/2mv² 980h=0.5 x 5 x v² Now it v²=u²+2as For the brick going up to 10m v = 0 u=? a=-9.8ms-² s=10m u²=2 x 9.8 x 10 u=14m/s We can assume that u=14m/s is...
  32. srecarey

    Diatomic Molecules

  33. lilymay992

    Kinetic Energy of Protons

    So first I tried to use KE=1/2 x m x v^2 but then realized I didn’t have the velocity and I can’t figure out a way to obtain it. I then tried to work out the energy using a different equation, W= q x v but that left me with 1.28x10^-14 J which seemed too small. I also then have to calculate the...
  34. O

    Confused by the relationship of work and kinetic energy

    So the equation for work is W = F * s F = m * a, so W = m * a * s Transferring this to units of measurement gives us: J = kg * m * s-2 * m Or simplified: J = kg * m2 * s-2 Transferring back to units of quantity: W = m * v2 How can that be correct? Obviously Ekin = 1/2 * m * v2. Where did that...
  35. N

    How would we increase the rotation rate of very large structures in deep space?

    Imagine a 400-meter-long pipe with a 1600-meter diameter, floating in inter-planetary space. It is spinning at 0.5 gravity along its major axis and there are no secondary-axes spins. We need to increase rotation to 0.85 g. Its density is a uniform 2.3 kg/m³ and it weighs 49,120,056 kg. Thanks to...
  36. M

    Force on a pin from a pendulum and a string

    1. Determine the velocity of the ball when it is 30degrees from the horizontal: U1 = mgh = mg(0.8m) U2 = mgh = mg(0.4+0.4cos(30)) = mg(.74641) ΔU = U2 - U1 = mg(.74641 - .8) = mg(-0.051433) T1 =0 T2 = 0.5mv^2 ΔT = T2 - T1 = 0.5mv^2 ΔU = ΔT mg(-0.051433) = 0.5mv^2 ====> v = 1.025394 2. Use...
  37. D

    How to find the energy of an object that was at rest?

    Homework Statement In two rockets, one of which moves and the other is at rest, the motors are connected for a short time. During their operation they throw the same mass of gas (small in comparison with the mass of the rocket) at the same speed with respect to the rockets. The kinetic energy...
  38. M

    How far does the block slide? (work, spring, incline)

    Homework Statement The system is released from rest with no slack in the cable and with the spring stretched 225 mm. Determine the distance s traveled by the 3.2-kg cart before it comes to rest (a) if m approaches zero and (b) if m = 2.5 kg. Assume no mechanical interference and no friction...
  39. Curtiss Oakley

    Problem involving energy/motion

    Homework Statement A ball of mass m=0.300 kg is connected by a strong massless rod of length L = 0.800 m to a pivot and held in place with the rod vertical. A wind exerts constant force F to the right on the ball as shown below. The ball is released from rest. The wind makes it swing up to...
  40. matai

    Using Integrals to Calculate the Rotational Energy of Earth

    So I found the linear velocity by using the circumference of the Earth which I found to be 2pi(637800= 40014155.89meters. Then the time of one full rotation was 1436.97 minutes, which I then converted to 86164.2 seconds. giving me the linear velocity to be 465.0905584 meters/second. I know that...
  41. Benjamin Fogiel

    A rocket burns out at an altitude h above the Earth's surface

    Homework Statement A rocket burns out at an altitude h above the Earth's surface. Its speed v0 at burnout exceeds the escape speed vesc appropriate to the burnout altitude. Show that the speed v of the rocket very far from the Earth is given by v=(v02-v2esc)1/2 Homework Equations KEf-KEi=Ui-Uf...
  42. P

    Kinetic Energy & Momentum of a Ball released from Spring

    Homework Statement "A spring with a spring constant "k" is compressed 10 cm from equilibrium. A ball of mass 100 g is at rest next to it. The spring then decompresses quickly back to its equilibrium position causing the ball to shoot forward. If the spring constant is 500 N/m, what is the...
  43. J

    Rank the four objects from fastest to slowest

    Homework Statement Rank the four objects (1kg solid sphere, 1kg hollow sphere, 2kg solid sphere and 1kg hoop) from fastest down the ramp to slowest. (Please see the attached screenshot for more details.) Homework Equations KE_rot = 1/2Iw^2 (where omega = w) The Attempt at a Solution Since we...
  44. Abimbola1987

    Joule's first law - kinetic energy of electrical current

    Dear Sirs, If I take this explanation as being true "The heat is generated on the microscale when the conduction electrons transfer energy to the conductor's atoms by way of collisions." So a "current" must have a quantum of kinetic energy going into the conductor (resistive element) and a...
  45. J

    Moving down a ramp

    Homework Statement Please look at the problem attached as a screenshot. Homework Equations Assuming frictionless, Ei = Ef, which means objects that are the same will end up in the same heights (so we can group A&C, B&D, and E&F). For A&C and E&F, mgh = KE_rot + KE_trans For B&D, it is mgh...
  46. J

    Solid sphere rolling along a track

    Homework Statement Please see the attached file. Homework Equations Ei = Ef The Attempt at a Solution I don't have an answer key provided, but I'd really like to verify that I'm right (or if I'm wrong, why). I think ti'd be (c) because assuming that due to inertia, B will continue going...
  47. J

    Do A and C have same or different KE at the end?

    Homework Statement Please look at the attached screenshot. Homework Equations Assuming the ramp is frictionless, Ei = Ef and thus mgh = KE ( = 1/2mv^2, which isn't really necessary here) The Attempt at a Solution I'm okay with all other examples except for A and C. From the answer template...
  48. J

    What velocity does a train need to go up and down the hill

    Homework Statement There is a train of length d and speed v. It is heading towards a hill with height h and length of each side l. What velocity requirement must be met so that the train can go up and down the hill? Homework Equations Ek=m⋅v2/2 Ep=m⋅g⋅h The Attempt at a Solution I'm basically...
  49. DracoMalfoy

    Finding the Kinetic Energy of a particle in 2mol of nitrogen

    Homework Statement What is the kinetic energy of a particle in 2mol of nitrogen gas at atmospheric pressure that is within a volume of 100m^3? a. 1.27X10^-17J b. 3X10^5J c. 6.8X10^-16J d. 2.97X10^7 e. 9.9X10^-14J Homework Equations PV=nRT n=Numberof particles/Na Na=6.02x10^23 R=8.13 J/Mol...
  50. J

    Speed or turning point using energy

    Homework Statement Please look at the attached screenshot. This problem is really confusing for me and I can't seem to make much sense out of it. Homework Equations Ei = Ef The Attempt at a Solution As you can see, I did get (a). (The other checkmarks, I guessed — there were only two...