1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Differentiating force to find potential energy

  1. Jan 27, 2013 #1
    A particle of mass m is moving along the x-axis and experiences a force F(x), also along the x-axis, given by F(x) = -kx. Deduce an expression for the potiential energy of the particle.

    I tried intergrating both side (just to see if it gave me anything helpful). I got ∫F(x)dx=mv for the left hand side and -(1/2)kx^2 on the right hand side but i still don't have the answers. Any help would be much appreciated :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2013 #2
    The potential energy at some position ##x## of an object subjected to a conservative force (in one dimension) is ##V = -\int_{x_0}^{x} F(x') dx'##. ##x_0## is arbitrary, since you can set the zero potential anywhere you like. You didn't need to integrate the left hand side explicitly.

    Edit: Also, don't erase the homework help template. It's there for a reason, as this example demonstrates.
  4. Jan 28, 2013 #3
    Ok, i've found the answer and i understand how to do it. Thanks for your help :)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook