Energy Confusion (Conservation of Energy?)

  • #1
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
sophiecentaur
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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
Dale
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Getting to higher ground would increase his gravitational potential energy
This part is true

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
CWatters
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Friction actually makes it easier to move. If there was no friction driving and walking would be impossible.
 
  • #5
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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.
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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