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Symbols in the equation relating work, force, and distance moved

  1. Oct 15, 2012 #1
    I have been taught that work = force x distance moved in direction of force, or

    W=Fd

    However, should this not be W=Fs, as what is really meant is displacement (s), not distance (d)?

    Thank you - I sense that this is something the real Dr Moriarty would have known....
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2012 #2
    If you move in a circular trajectory on your bicycle. Do you mean to say that the total energy you have spent is 0?

    I have been taught that A = Fs aswell, s is the distance travelled by the influence of the Force, so it would make no sense if the summarum is 0.
     
  4. Oct 15, 2012 #3
    My question is less about the actual physics, and more about the convention - it seems to me that writing W=Fd is inaccurate, as d represents distance, not displacement (s).
     
  5. Oct 15, 2012 #4

    tiny-tim

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    Welcome to PF!

    Hi Dr Moriarty! Welcome to PF! :smile:
    The correct equation is W = ∫ F · ds

    (since neither the force nor the direction of motion need be constant).

    W = Fd is just a simplification which applies in some circumstances. :wink:
     
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