How Do You Calculate the X-Component of Force from Potential Energy?

• sracks
In summary, The conversation discusses the potential energy of a particle shown in a figure and the calculation of the x-component of the force on the particle at specific points. The conversation mentions using -dU/dx and taking into account the units of the x-axis. The speaker also asks for advice on how to calculate the force at x = 25 cm and is advised to use the same method as x = 5 cm.
sracks
A particle has the potential energy shown in the figure. See link below. What is the x-component of the force on the particle at x =5, 15, 25, and 35 cm?

All answers are in N

http://img111.imageshack.us/img111/4988/figure2vn4.jpg

i know i should be using -dU/dx
but i keep getting the wrong answers when x = 5 cm
I get F = 1N

Last edited by a moderator:
Did you take into account the fact that the x-axis is marked in cm?

oh, thank you :tongue:

I'm actually having trouble when x = 25 cm. Is there any advice on how to figure it out?

sracks said:
I'm actually having trouble when x = 25 cm. Is there any advice on how to figure it out?

-dU/dx means the slope of U-r graph
slope of U-r graph between 20cm-40cm are the same.

sracks said:
I'm actually having trouble when x = 25 cm. Is there any advice on how to figure it out?
Use the same method used at x = 5 cm.

What is potential energy?

Potential energy is the energy that an object possesses due to its position or configuration. It is stored energy that has the potential to be converted into other forms of energy, such as kinetic energy.

What are some common examples of potential energy?

Some common examples of potential energy include a stretched spring, a compressed gas, a raised weight, and a charged battery. These objects possess potential energy because of their position or configuration.

How is potential energy calculated?

The formula for calculating potential energy is PE = mgh, where PE is potential energy, m is the mass of the object, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and h is the height or distance the object is from the ground.

Can potential energy be converted into other forms of energy?

Yes, potential energy can be converted into other forms of energy, such as kinetic energy. When an object with potential energy is released, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion.

What are some real-world applications of potential energy?

Potential energy has many real-world applications, such as in hydroelectric power plants, where the potential energy of water stored in a reservoir is converted into electrical energy. It is also used in elastic potential energy systems, such as in springs used in trampolines or pogo sticks. Additionally, potential energy is used in roller coasters, where it is converted into kinetic energy to propel the cars along the track.

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