1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Translational energy vs. kinetic energy

  1. Jul 14, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Is translational energy the same thing as kinetic energy?

    3. The attempt at a solution
    In a sense, I feel like it is, since they both deal with energy of motion, but then again, isn't kinetic energy the sum of translational, rotational, AND vibrational motion?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2007 #2

    Andrew Mason

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Correct. Translational energy is only one aspect of a body's kinetic energy. A three dimensional body has the ability to rotate about its centre of mass. Rotational energy is independent of translational motion of the center of mass. If the body is not rigid, there is additional energy of compression/expansion (vibration).

  4. Jul 14, 2007 #3
    So then given mass and velocity of a particle, how would you find the translational energy of a particle...?
  5. Jul 14, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    it's not actually called "translational energy" it's called "translational kinetic energy." Use the usual formula for kinetic energy [tex]m v^2/2[/tex]. We have introduced the new adjective "translational" because we will soon be studying extended bodies (or, apparently, you will) which have in addition to "translational kinetic energy" also "rotational kinetic energy."
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook