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Potential Energy

  1. Feb 1, 2005 #1
    Hello, Curious to know, does an engine at idle have potential energy? For instance would an airplane sitting at the end of a runway at idle ready for takeoff have potential energy?

    Thanks
    P
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2005 #2

    Tom Mattson

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    Yes, it's the chemical potential energy in the fuel.

    Hit the gas-->Burn fuel-->Break chemical bonds-->VROOOM!
     
  4. Feb 1, 2005 #3
    The fuel is quite a different object than an engine unless you're talking about the fuel that is already inside the engine.

    There is no meaning to an absolute potential for anything. Only differences of potential have meaning. Normally a reference location is chosen and the difference with respect to that reference point is said to be the potential of the object with respect to that location.

    Discounting the fuel there is no mechanical potential energy if the reference location is chosen to be ground level (discounting height about runway that is). I don't recall anything inside an airplane engine which can be referred to as mechanical potential. But as Tom said there is chemical potential energy in the fuel.

    Pete
     
  5. Feb 1, 2005 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    Yes, that's what I mean.
     
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