Energy Confusion (Conservation of Energy?)

In summary, it is true that getting to higher ground would increase gravitational potential energy, but the statement that it would allow for easier movement due to a decrease in non-conservative forces is not entirely accurate. The slight decrease in friction due to a change in g would have a negligible effect on a person's ability to move.
  • #1
Generally Confused
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Anyone know if the following statement is true (and why)?

"Getting to higher ground would increase his gravitational potential energy, decreasing the effects of non-conservative forces, which would allow him to move easier."

CLARIFICATION: "move easier" refers to a lack of friction and not the slight increase in gravitational force. Do with that what you will.
 
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  • #2
Hmmm. I can't think what would "allow him to move easier" as g on higher ground is almost undetectably different from g at sea level.
Where did you find that statement?
 
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  • #3
Generally Confused said:
Getting to higher ground would increase his gravitational potential energy
This part is true

Generally Confused said:
decreasing the effects of non-conservative forces, which would allow him to move easier
This part seems weird, like it was written by a drunk physicist.
 
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  • #4
Friction actually makes it easier to move. If there was no friction driving and walking would be impossible.
 
  • #5
Generally Confused said:
Anyone know if the following statement is true (and why)?

"Getting to higher ground would increase his gravitational potential energy, decreasing the effects of non-conservative forces, which would allow him to move easier."

CLARIFICATION: "move easier" refers to a lack of friction and not the slight increase in gravitational force. Do with that what you will.
Do you mean friction or air-resistance? The air resistance is dependent on the density of air, which does decrease with increasing height. However, in practice a person would have to account for the fact that there would be less oxygen present due to the lower pressure.

The frictional force is, to a first approximation, usually given by f=μN, where μ is the coefficient of friction and N is the normal force.
Since N in many cases is opposing the gravitational force acting on the object, a change in g could result in a change of friction with height, but as @sophiecentaur noted, the rate at which g varies with height is small (the difference between g at sea level and a height corresponding to the top of Mount Everest can be calculated to be about 0.03 ms-2, even at the ISS, g is about 0.9 times that at sea-level), so in practice there would be little variation in friction.
 
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Related to Energy Confusion (Conservation of Energy?)

What is energy confusion?

Energy confusion refers to the misconception that energy can be created or destroyed. In reality, the law of conservation of energy states that energy can only be transferred or converted from one form to another, but the total amount of energy in a closed system remains constant.

Why is understanding the conservation of energy important?

Understanding the conservation of energy is important because it is a fundamental principle in physics that helps us explain and predict the behavior of various systems. It also allows us to make informed decisions about energy usage and conservation in our daily lives.

What are some examples of energy conversion?

Examples of energy conversion include the chemical energy in food being converted into mechanical energy in our bodies, the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy through solar panels, and the conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy when an object falls.

Can energy be lost?

No, energy cannot be lost. It can only be converted or transferred from one form to another. This means that the total amount of energy in a closed system remains constant, even if it appears to have disappeared or been “lost” in a certain form.

How does energy confusion affect our understanding of renewable energy?

Energy confusion can lead to misinformation and misunderstandings about renewable energy sources. For example, some may falsely believe that renewable energy can create energy out of nothing, when in reality it simply converts existing energy from natural sources like wind, sunlight, or water into usable forms. Understanding the conservation of energy is crucial in accurately evaluating the potential of renewable energy and its impact on the environment.

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