Help with Conservation of Energy Principle

In summary, the block loses potential energy to the Earth as it sits on the table, even though no work is being done. The increase in gravitational force when the meteor hits the Earth gives the brick KE, which it then uses to exert more force.
  • #1
Arv
6
0
Hi

I am not able to reason my way through conservation of energy
when I consider the following scenario..

Suppose you are holding up a weight and there is no movement of the
weight. According to theory this means no work is done on the weight
since net forces on it cancel and there is no movement. However it takes effort to hold it up and eventually you get tired which means that you are using up chemical energy to hold up the weight. So if no work is done which
means there is no energy transfer and yet chemical energy is being
used up to hold the weight (since you are getting tired)...where
does this chemical energy transfer to? It's not surely vanishing
or dissappearing as heat...

my imagination rather than reason says, its supplying the brick's
potential energy which is being 'sucked' away by the force exerted on
it by the earth..so energy being transferred to earth??...this seems
totally wrong but I can't seem to reason here...please help

Arvind
 
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  • #2
Suppose the block is sitting on a table, or on the Earth itself, rather than in your hand. Would you argue the same way? How long would it take for all of the block's potential energy to be "sucked away" in that situation? As long as the block, in your hand or on a table, stays at the same height, it has lost no potential energy to the Earth or any where else. In order to talk about "conservation of energy", you have to take into account all forces- there must be no "external forces". In the example you give,you have to account for forces internal to the muscles themselves as well as the "friction" there due to the fact that your muscles are not perfectly efficient- they lose energy to heat and vibration. (If you hold a heavy block at arm's length for any length of time, you know what I mean by "vibration"!)
 
  • #3
Doesnt gravity's force on the Earth account for the heat emitted from the Earth's core? The pressure on the iron raises its temperature as I understand it. I know Blackbody radiation converts the iron's mass slowly into energy, but I heard that Blackbody radiation is slowly emitted only at high temperatures, this is the cause of iron turning red with high thermal energy. But say is the mass wasnt enough to cause it to emit blackbody radiation, it would still make it warm or hot, just not melt...right?

Another thing.. what if say a meteor hit the earth? It wasnt lifted to give it potential energy, but it was suddenly given KE just by getting close to the earth. And then when it hits the earth, then the gravitational force INCREASES! It gave an object KE out of nothing, and in turn it exerts more force then it did then.
(I don't know if that made any sense...)
 
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  • #4
I don't understand your argument about the Black body radiation. when iron is heated it looks red bcoz it is emitting most photonscorresponding to that wavelength.
about the meteor; the meteor as it travels through space it already has KE; nobody gives it any KE. when it is very near the Earth it may get attracted to the Earth by its gravity and thereby collide with it. U don't have to lift it to give PE. In the stellar scales; u see gravitational PE that has a different formulae.
and about the heat in the Earth's core; whose gravitational force on what do u want to imply?
 
  • #5
Anyway, to put a finer point on it:
Arv said:
So if no work is done which
means there is no energy transfer and yet chemical energy is being
used up to hold the weight (since you are getting tired)...where
does this chemical energy transfer to? It's not surely vanishing
or dissappearing as heat...
It is being dissipated as heat.
 
  • #6
Arv said:
Suppose you are holding up a weight and there is no movement of the
weight.
Since the brick does not move, there is no work done on the brick and thus no mechanical energy transferred to the brick. But to maintain the tension in your muscles that creates the force supporting the brick, your muscle fibers continually contract and relax: that requires energy. (Since there is no net motion of your muscles, that chemical energy ends up as thermal energy.)

Compare this to just resting your hand on the table, palm up, and laying the brick on top. In this case your muscles no longer have to maintain tension to create the force supporting the brick, thus no additional energy is needed.
 
  • #7
Thankyou for resolving this. So the brick does not change its energy 'state'. The transfer of energy is simply from chemical to thermal. This makes sense now.
 
  • #8
In physics , equation for work done by a force is only applied for external forces , that is the scenario external to the body or system in consideration is taken into account. In the cases of holding the weight in air or pushing the wall , there is no net displacement as viewed from outside and hence work done is zero. But if we consider the muscles of the man who is holding the weight , these muscles are not rigid rods , these muscles need to do work to act as a straight rod for a transient time . The muscle fibres in these muscles contract and expand to make this sure and hence work is done in contraction and expansion , which leads to lowering of the internal energy of the man and it keeps getting difficult for man to maintain the straight rod act.


BJ
 
  • #9
WhiteWolf said:
Doesnt gravity's force on the Earth account for the heat emitted from the Earth's core? The pressure on the iron raises its temperature as I understand it.
The Earth was formed by the collision of rocks and dust that were present at the formation of the solar system. Those materials collided because they were attracted to each other by gravity. At the collision kinetic energy was transformed into heat. Since heat only can be lost in vacuum by radiation, most of the original heat is still here and has fused the material that composes the core.
You are right. Gravity is responsible for the heat in Earth's core.
 
  • #10
The largest component of energy that keeps the Earth's core molten is the rotation of the Earth within it's own gravitational field. Tidal like force cause the core material to move generating huge frictional heat. That heat is supplemented by heat of compression from the full mass of the earth.

If the Earth didn't rotate it would have already cooled off to a solid core a billion years or so ago.
 
  • #11
To make sure this thread stays on topic, the OP requres NO explanation about the Earth's molten core. So please do not hijack the thread into something else or I will be forced to perform some surgery onto it to move the relevant postings out of here. Trust me, the end result will not be pretty.

Some of you are MORE than welcome to start a new thread in the Earth science section.

Zz.
 

1. What is the conservation of energy principle?

The conservation of energy principle is a fundamental law of physics that states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed from one form to another. This means that in any physical process, the total amount of energy remains constant.

2. Why is the conservation of energy principle important?

The conservation of energy principle is important because it allows us to predict and understand how energy will behave in various physical processes. It also helps us to conserve resources and reduce waste.

3. How does the conservation of energy principle apply to everyday life?

The conservation of energy principle applies to everyday life in many ways. For example, when we turn on a light, the electrical energy is converted into light and heat energy. Similarly, when we use a car, the chemical energy in the fuel is converted into kinetic energy to make the car move.

4. Is the conservation of energy principle always true?

Yes, the conservation of energy principle is always true in closed systems. In an ideal situation where there is no external influence, the total energy of a system will remain constant. However, in real-world situations, energy may be lost due to factors such as friction and resistance.

5. How does the conservation of energy principle relate to other laws of physics?

The conservation of energy principle is closely related to other laws of physics, including the law of conservation of mass and the first law of thermodynamics. These laws all describe how energy and matter behave in physical processes, and they are all interconnected.

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