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Gravitational potential energy?

  1. Dec 4, 2011 #1
    Explain how a skier can have more than one value for gravitational potential energy at any one time?

    My attempt at an answer.

    Consider the position of the skier is relative to the bottom of the hill. Therefore the skier has gravitational potential energy as he/she descends down the hill. At any moment where the skier is airborne (i.e ascending off a jump) he/she now has gravitational potential energy from being above ground.

    will not be surprised if this is incorrect.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 4, 2011 #2

    Andrew Mason

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    What determines gravitational potential energy? Think of gravitational potential energy of the skier as a potential energy difference between two positions: its present position and some other position.

    AM
     
  4. Dec 4, 2011 #3
    wouldn't my two first sentences be an example of that? so that would make one value. i guess my last sentence is just an extension to the first value.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2011 #4

    Andrew Mason

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    Your answer is not incorrect but needs a bit more explanation. That would be an example of having two gravitational potential energies at one particular time (ie. when he/she is airborne). What would those energies be? How would the skier have two potential energies at ANY given time (ie. even when he/she is not airborne) as the question asks?

    AM
     
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