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Is static frinction a conservative force?

  1. Jun 3, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Suppose we have a two blocks of masses m1 and m2, one on the top of another. The lower block is attached to a spring which is attached to the wall. These two blocks are on a zero-friction floor. We give the lower block a velocity so that the upper block is not sliding on the lower one. Considering known m1, m2 and spring constant k, can we calculate the potential energy of the upper block as a function of the displacement from the rest point?





    3. The attempt at a solution
    I don't think that we can calculate a potential energy of the upper block as the upper body is moving by the static friction. If static friction is a conservative force we can calculate it. If not, this question is meaningless.
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2012 #2
    Hi Stergios. Kinetic friction is non conservative because it dissipates energy as heat from the system to the surrounding. So does static friction dissipate any energy from the system and to the surroundings?
     
  4. Jun 7, 2012 #3
    Static friction is the moving force of the top block. Potential energy is being stored in the spring, which is attached to the bottom block. Can we tell that static friction is connected with a potential energy?
     
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