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Potential energy of a loaded structure

  1. Sep 25, 2005 #1
    can anyone proove the following

    "IN A LOADED STRUCTURE THE POTENTIAL ENERGY OF THE SYSTEM IS MINIMUM IN ITS EQUILIBRIUM STATE"
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2005 #2

    ZapperZ

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    Unless you are willing to put some CONTEXT where such a statement is applied, then such a thing is rather meaningless. Don't be surprised if you end up with replied that have nothing to do with what you are thinking of.

    Zz.
     
  4. Sep 25, 2005 #3
    Here is one simplistic non mathematical attempt to answer:

    Suppose while I stand on the earth I am a "loaded structure" gravitationally with the earth, we both attract each other with equal force. The earth and I are in our ultimate equilbrium and stable state with respect to each other as a "loaded structure", thus our potential gravitational bond energy P = 0. I now transform the system and I walk up one unit of distance away from ultimate equilbrium state with the earth. Potential gravitational bond energy for the system has now increased to P = +1. Next, I step back down one unit of distance. During the process of stepping down I gain kenetic energy and lose potential gravitational bond energy, I return to P =0 state. Thus, the potential bond energy (P) of the loaded system (me & earth) is minimum (=0) at our ultimate stable equilbrium state.
     
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