# Does the gravitational potential energy affect the burning of two logs?

• prodi
In summary, the conversation discusses the release of energy from burning two wooden logs, one at the base of a mountain and one on the peak. There are different factors that can affect the amount of energy released, such as temperature, mass, and oxygen levels. However, the problem is misguided as it does not specify the type of potential energy being referred to and does not take into account other important factors.
prodi

## Homework Statement

Let's consider two wooden logs. We burn the first one at the base of the mountain and the second one on the peak. Which one is releasing more energy? Do they release the same amount of energy?
Does the potential energy affect the burning

## Homework Equations

## \Delta H =## Sum of bond energies broken - Sum of bond energies formed

## E=mc^2##

## Potential \ Energy = mgh ##

##v_T=\sqrt{\frac{3kT}{\mu m_H}} ##

## The Attempt at a Solution

I know that the reaction enthalpy depends on temperature so they must release different amounts of energy. So I guess the answer will be the log located on the peak of the mountain.

Another approach I tried is to apply the Einstein equation, ##E=mc^2##. Supposing that the two logs have the same mass the answer will be simple: both release the same amount of energy.

Also I was thinking about the oxygen levels for this two altitudes. The log at the lower altitude has more oxygen so it should release more energy. But if the two logs have equal masses, the oxygen level should not matter. Am I wrong?

This problem seems misguided. It asks if the potential energy affects the quantity of energy released in burning a log. I have to ask, “which potential energy?” Since the problem is about burning you would like to think they are referring to some sort of chemical potential energy, but since they are comparing the bottom of a mountain to the peak I have to believe they mean gravitational potential energy.

I am guessing they are trying to illustrate the connection or lack thereof between different kinds of energy. (I guess ?!??). The problem with that is you can think of a lot of reasons that different amounts of energy will be released (as you have) which have nothing to do with gravity.

Perhaps I am missing something, but the best way I can interpret this question is: assume the log oxidizes completely (I.e. don’t worry about unmentioned things like the amount of oxygen, how long it takes, or how thoroughly it burns) does the chemical energy released depend on whether you are at the bottom or top of the mountain?

Well that’s my best guess of what they are getting at, anyway.

prodi
Cutter Ketch said:
This problem seems misguided. It asks if the potential energy affects the quantity of energy released in burning a log. I have to ask, “which potential energy?” Since the problem is about burning you would like to think they are referring to some sort of chemical potential energy, but since they are comparing the bottom of a mountain to the peak I have to believe they mean gravitational potential energy.
Yes, they mean gravitational potential energy. Sorry for the confusion.

## 1. How does the gravitational potential energy affect the burning of two logs?

The gravitational potential energy has no direct effect on the burning of two logs. The burning process is primarily driven by the chemical energy stored within the logs.

## 2. Can the gravitational potential energy of the logs affect the rate of burning?

No, the gravitational potential energy does not affect the rate of burning. Instead, the rate of burning is determined by factors such as the availability of oxygen, the moisture content of the logs, and the temperature of the environment.

## 3. Is the gravitational potential energy converted into heat energy during the burning of two logs?

No, the gravitational potential energy is not converted into heat energy during the burning of two logs. The heat energy generated during the burning process is a result of the chemical reactions taking place within the logs.

## 4. Does the gravitational potential energy change as the logs burn?

Yes, the gravitational potential energy of the logs decreases as they burn because their mass decreases. However, this change in gravitational potential energy has no direct effect on the burning process.

## 5. Can the gravitational potential energy of the logs be harnessed for energy production?

The gravitational potential energy of the logs can potentially be harnessed through methods such as hydroelectric power or gravity-based energy storage systems. However, these methods do not directly involve the act of burning the logs.

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