Stored energy in a spring

  1. If two different masses, separated by a spring, are pulled apart, and then the spring is instantaneously release from one of the masses, how much of the potential energy that was stored in the spring is transferred to each mass?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Are you saying that one mass is released while the other is held still?
     
  4. After thinking about it some more, I feel I should restate my question. I've attached a picture to make it more clear. Here's the problem: the fixed base on the right is extended a distance x so that all springs are in tension and then spring 2 is disconnected instantaneously from mass 2. I would like to evaluate the responses of mass 1 and mass 2, but am unsure how much, if any, of the stored energy in spring 2 is transferred to mass 2. Thanks.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Interesting. I'd say that none of it is transferred to the masses.
     
  6. I could see no energy being transferred to mass 2, but wouldn't the stored energy of spring 2 have to go somewhere, mass 1 being the likely candidate, for conservation of energy?
     
  7. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Spring 2 will dissipate that energy as heat. (I agree with Doc.)
     
  8. Thanks for the responses! Appreciate it.
     
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