# Potential Energy during Constant Velocity Motion

• hgfhh123
In summary: The potential energy is increasing while the object is being raised because the net force on the object is zero.
hgfhh123

## Homework Statement

Could you please clarify the confusion I have about potential energy? Consider an object being raised from the Earth's surface upwards at a constant velocity. Is the potential energy increasing while it is moving upwards at a constant velocity?

## The Attempt at a Solution

This is my reasoning:

While the object is being raised upward at a constant velocity, the net force on that object is 0. Therefore, the net work on that object is also 0. As a result, the kinetic energy of the object is constant while it is moving up at a constant velocity.
Since the kinetic energy is not changing, the potential energy is not changing while the object is moving up. When the object STOPS moving, and is held at a constant height, then the net work done on the object during that interval when it is slowing down would be negative, which would decrease the kinetic energy until it reaches 0. This would be accompanied by an increase in potential energy. However, WHILE it is moving upward at a constant velocity, the potential energy is not changing.

When I look online, it is said that the potential energy is increasing while the object is moving upwards, even though it is moving upwards at a constant velocity (no change in Kinetic energy). My reasoning is, because of the Conservation of Mechanical Energy, if there is no change in Kinetic energy, then there is no change in potential energy if we are dealing with conservative forces, which we are in this situation. Then why does the potential energy increase while it is being raised?

Thanks.

Last edited:
In the first place, in order to raise something up, you are working against gravity. So you are inputting energy into a system. If you apply conservation of energy, then you will have

KE1+PE1+ E = KE2+ PE2

E would be the energy you are inputting into the object to get it to whatever height.

Just to add to what rock.freak667 explained:

hgfhh123 said:
While the object is being raised upward at a constant velocity, the net force on that object is 0. Therefore, the net work on that object is also 0. As a result, the kinetic energy of the object is constant while it is moving up at a constant velocity.
All true. But realize that by talking about the net force and net work you are explicitly including the work done by gravity. There are two ways to deal with gravity: Either treat it as another force, just as you did here, or treat it by using a potential energy term. It's one or the other (your choice) but not both. Otherwise you are counting gravity twice.
Since the kinetic energy is not changing, the potential energy is not changing while the object is moving up.
That's not true. Gravitational PE increases as the object moves up.
When the object STOPS moving, and is held at a constant height, then the net work done on the object during that interval when it is slowing down would be negative, which would decrease the kinetic energy until it reaches 0. This would be accompanied by an increase in potential energy. However, WHILE it is moving upward at a constant velocity, the potential energy is not changing.
Either talk in terms of net force and net work including gravity or in terms of gravitational PE and the work done by all forces other than gravity. Since you chose here to mention PE, you would not include the work done by gravity in your analysis.

## What is potential energy during constant velocity motion?

Potential energy is the energy possessed by an object due to its position or configuration. During constant velocity motion, an object's potential energy remains the same because its position does not change.

## How is potential energy related to constant velocity motion?

Potential energy is related to constant velocity motion through the conservation of energy principle. As an object moves at a constant velocity, its kinetic energy remains the same, but potential energy may change due to changing position or configuration.

## What factors affect an object's potential energy during constant velocity motion?

The factors that affect an object's potential energy during constant velocity motion include its mass, height, and the strength of the gravitational field. The higher the object's mass and height, and the stronger the gravitational field, the greater the potential energy.

## Can potential energy be converted into kinetic energy during constant velocity motion?

No, potential energy cannot be converted into kinetic energy during constant velocity motion as the object's speed remains constant. However, potential energy can be converted into kinetic energy when the object accelerates.

## How is the potential energy of an object calculated during constant velocity motion?

The potential energy of an object during constant velocity motion can be calculated using the formula PE = mgh, where m is the mass of the object, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and h is the height of the object. The unit of potential energy is joules (J).

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