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Question concerning kinetic energy and potential energy

  1. Mar 7, 2009 #1
    Suppose that I start with a stretched, stationary spring, so there's a high potential energy, but no kinetic energy.

    Then I release the spring, so the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy as the spring collapses and oscillates.

    After some time t, the spring stops moving and comes to a rest, so kinetic energy = 0, and potential energy also = 0, so where did all the energy go? If it's released as heat, how exactly does it do that?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2009 #2
    A perfect spring wouldn't ever stop moving unless it lost its energy to a non conservative force. So yea, it the energy gets sucked up by heat,friction,etc.
  4. Mar 7, 2009 #3
    Everything becomes heat due to the molecule constructs not being able to transfer kinetic energy perfectly, and thus disorganizing the movements between the particles, and as we all know heat is just disorganized movement on particle level.
  5. Mar 7, 2009 #4
    That heat is eventually radiated, convected, and/or conducted away from the spring into the surroundings, so that is the mechanism whereby it is removed from your spring.
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