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Work and Energy

  1. Feb 26, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    W = f x D
    W = work
    f = force
    D = distance

    What happens when the applied force is not constant?


    I have no idea. Can anyone please answer?
    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2014 #2
    Do you know how the force varies with time? Is there a function that expresses this?
     
  4. Feb 26, 2014 #3
    No. Its just a research question that just ask what happens when the applied force is not constant.
     
  5. Feb 26, 2014 #4

    haruspex

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    W = F*D is only valid for a constant force and distance measured in the direction in which the force acts. There is a more general equation relating a variable force to distance and work. Properly, it involves calculus and vectors. Not sure what level you're at.
    Ignoring the vector aspect, consider the force advancing a small distance ds, so that the force can be taken as not varying enough to matter. Then add up all these contributions over the total distance moved.
     
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