Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Where GPE comes from?

  1. Sep 15, 2015 #1
    Gravitational potential energy is equal to negative work. But in the case of lifting an object upwards, the work done on the object would be 0. The work on the object by the lifter would equal the work on the object by gravity. Then, how does the object get GPE?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2015 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The change in GPE equals the negative of the work done by gravity.

    Work done by who? To lift the object the lifter must do work on it.

    True, the net work is zero, but that only means that there is no change in kinetic energy.

    The object gains GPE because someone did the work to lift it.
     
  4. Sep 15, 2015 #3
    Isn't it true however that -Delta K=Delta U? Where U is potential energy, and K is kinetic energy. It is also true that Wnet= Delta K. So if net work is zero, then change in kinetic energy should be zero, and therefore change in gravitationak potential should be zero as well...?
     
  5. Sep 15, 2015 #4

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Not if there's an external force (the lifter) doing work on the object.

    Yes, that's the work energy theorem.

    Nope.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2015 #5
    Why does the lifter count as external but gravity does not?

    Is it because the lifter applies a nonconservative force?
     
  7. Sep 15, 2015 #6

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Realize that GPE already accounts for the work done by gravity. So if you use GPE you do not also treat gravity as doing work--to do so would be to count it twice.
     
  8. Sep 15, 2015 #7

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You can think of it that way. The conservative force of gravity is already included in the GPE; the lifter's non-conservative force is not.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2015 #8

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    It is possible that the lifter will be a conservative force, like a spring. Then the lifter will have its own potential energy which will be different from GPE, like elastic potential energy.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Where GPE comes from?
Loading...