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Find the potential energy function

  1. Mar 27, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A particle is constrained to move in one dimension along the x axis and is acted upon by a force given by ##\vec F (x) = \frac{-k}{x^3} \vec i ## where ##k ## is a constant with units appropriate to the SI system. Find the potential energy function ##U(x)##, if U is arbitrarily defined to be zero at x = 2.0 m, so that ##U(2.0 m) = 0 ##

    2. Relevant equations
    ## \Delta U = -W = \int \vec F * dl ##

    3. The attempt at a solution
    The textbook says that answer is ##U(x) = \frac {k}{8} - \frac{k}{2x^2} ## but I got ##U(x) = \frac{k}{2x^2} - \frac {k}{8} ## Am I still correct?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2015 #2
    Well, you're not far off, except the equation for Potential in the relevant equations is the negative integral of the force. Not just the integral. There's your issue.
     
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