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I Work function of conservative forces

  1. Mar 28, 2016 #1
    Could anyone help me with the following questions?

    - Why is the work done by conservative forces equivalent to the potential energy?
    - Why is the variation of the potential energy in such cases equals to the variation of the work function?

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2016 #2


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    Is this a homework question? You should ask this question in the appropriate forum then.
  4. Mar 28, 2016 #3


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    The answer is conservation of energy. Whenever potential energy increases with force, a change in other types of energy must occur to balance everything out. The amount that potential energy increases is the same as the amount the kinetic energy increase.
  5. Mar 28, 2016 #4
    Thank you for your reply. This is not a homework. I'm studying the conservation of energy in escleronomic systems subjected to conservative forces. All the books I've read only said that in such cases we have "-dV = dU", but they don't give any explanation about it. Searching a little bit, I saw that work function is the minimum energy necessary to remove an electron from the surface of a solid into the vacuum. What I didn't get is what's the relation between the removal of electrons and the variation of potential energy.
  6. Mar 29, 2016 #5
    Look at the definition of potential energy. How is the potential energy defined, mathematically?
    And is not equivalence but equality, with the right sign.

    The second part is not correct. The variation of potential energy may be equal to the work function (not its variation).
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