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Finding PE given mass, distance, and energy lost.

  1. Jan 6, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I'm supposed to find the potential energy at the start of a system for a vehicle given that the mass is 4000kg, the total distance traveled is 800m, and 3/4 of the total energy is lost to heat and friction by the end of the distance traveled (it's assumed that the vehicle starts from rest). Now, I know I can easily solve for a variable, but given this information I'm under the impression that I need to get a numerical answer. It's frustrating because I feel like I am not taking something into account.

    2. Relevant equations
    PE = mgh

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I've come up with really just substitution for the variables, so:
    PE = 4500kg*9.8m/s^2*h.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2015 #2

    jbriggs444

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    Science Advisor

    Is that all of the information that you have been given? It's not enough.
     
  4. Jan 6, 2015 #3
    Unfortunately, yes. I have scoured over my worksheet - nothing. I've since emailed my professor, but any further input you guys have would be appreciated.
     
  5. Jan 6, 2015 #4

    jbriggs444

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    Science Advisor

    You could try finding a formula for potential energy in terms of some other variable. For instance, as a function of speed at the end of the run.
     
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