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Can the kinetic energy of a system be negative?

  1. Oct 23, 2006 #1
    Can the kinetic energy of a system be negative? Explain why or why not?

    Also I know gravitational potential energy of a system can be negative but I need a better explanation on why it is so.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2006 #2

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    What is the equation for kinetic energy? What about it helps you answer the question?

    Potential energy (gravitational, voltege, etc.) is relative to some datum. How does that help you answer the 2nd question?


    PS -- I'm moving this thread to the Homework forums.
     
  4. Oct 23, 2006 #3

    radou

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    Homework Helper

    It is best to look at the definitions, they provide good explanations. :smile:
     
  5. Oct 23, 2006 #4
    I am just trying to understand the concept behind these. I guess Kinetic Energy can be negative if the velocity is negative. Also Potential energy can be negative due to g being negative.

    Can someone explain these in greater details.
     
  6. Oct 23, 2006 #5

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    How can the KE be negative, given the simple form involving an object's mass and velocity?
     
  7. Oct 24, 2006 #6
    by the way, if the velocity is negative, it doesn't make KE negative, since the equations for KE is (.5)(m)(v)^2. So if v is negative, it turns positive.
     
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