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# What is Mechanical Energy?

Mechanical energy is the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy that a system possesses due to the position, motion, or deformation of its physical components.

• What is Mechanical Energy?
• Conservation of Mechanical Energy
• Mechanical Energy & Power
• Examples
• FAQs

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## What is Mechanical Energy?

Mechanical Energy is a form of energy that can be stored in objects and can be converted into other forms of energy, such as electrical, thermal, or chemical energy.

Potential energy is the energy an object has due to its position or configuration in a gravitational, electric, or elastic field. For example, a stretched spring or a ball at the top of a hill has potential energy.

Kinetic energy is the energy an object has due to its motion. For example, a moving car or a spinning turbine has kinetic energy.

Mechanical energy is conserved in a closed system, meaning that it can be neither created nor destroyed, but it can be transferred or transformed.

For example, when a ball is thrown into the air, it has mechanical energy in the form of potential energy due to its height, and kinetic energy due to its motion. As the ball falls back down, its potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, until it reaches the ground with zero potential energy and maximum kinetic energy.

In summary, mechanical energy is a type of energy associated with the motion and position of physical objects, and it is conserved in a closed system.

## Conservation of Mechanical Energy

The conservation of mechanical energy is a fundamental principle in physics that states that in a closed system, the total amount of mechanical energy (potential energy plus kinetic energy) remains constant, provided there is no external work done on the system.

This means that mechanical energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can be converted from one form to another.

For example, consider a simple pendulum consisting of a mass suspended by a string. When the pendulum is at its highest point, it has maximum potential energy, and no kinetic energy.

As it swings down, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, and at the bottom of the swing, the pendulum has maximum kinetic energy and zero potential energy.

As it swings back up, the kinetic energy is converted back into potential energy, until it reaches the highest point again. During the entire motion, the total mechanical energy of the pendulum remains constant.

The conservation of mechanical energy can be expressed mathematically as follows:

E_mech = K + U = constant

where E_mech is the total mechanical energy, K is the kinetic energy, and U is the potential energy. This equation is known as the law of conservation of mechanical energy.

However, it is important to note that the conservation of mechanical energy only holds true in closed systems where there is no external work done on the system. In real-world situations, there is always some friction or other external forces acting on the system, which can cause the mechanical energy to be dissipated or lost.

## Mechanical Energy & Power:

Potential and kinetic energy sources from which mechanical energy is generated by converting them into power. Turbines that are powered by steam, water, wind, gas, or liquid fuels are a few examples of this.

Before being used as power, machines are frequently used to convert other forms of energy. We can use mechanical energy however we want or need it to function once it has been altered in a specific way.

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## Examples of Mechanical Energy:

Example 1:

A “wind farm” is a typical sight in some rural areas. At the so-called wind farm, high-speed winds are used to perform maintenance on a turbine’s blades. The ability to exert a force and move the blades is provided by the mechanical energy of the flowing air particles.

In order to power electrical appliances in homes, businesses, and other spaces, the spinning blades’ mechanical energy is later transformed into electrical energy. Wind that is moving can exert force on the blades because it possesses mechanical energy (in the form of kinetic energy). Mechanical energy has the capacity to perform labour once more.

Example 2:

Another illustration of how mechanical energy from one thing can affect another is a dart gun. A dart gun has mechanical energy when it is loaded and the springs are compressed.

The springs have the potential to exert force on the dart in order to move it thanks to the mechanical energy of the compressed springs. The springs’ mechanical energy, which takes the form of elastic potential energy, allows them to exert force on the dart. Work-enabling energy is known as mechanical energy.

Example 3:

Another illustration of how mechanical energy is an object’s capacity to perform work may be seen any evening at your neighbourhood bowling alley. A bowling ball’s mechanical energy enables it to exert force on a bowling pin and move it with the help of the pin.

The large ball can move the pin because it contains mechanical energy (in the form of kinetic energy). Work-enabling energy is known as mechanical energy.

Example 4:

There are numerous instances when an object possessing mechanical energy can use that energy to exert a force that displaces another object. The enormous wrecking ball of a demolition machine is a prime illustration.

The wrecking ball is a large device that is swung backwards to an elevated position and then let to swing forward into a building structure or other object to destroy it. The structure is struck by the wrecking ball, which exerts force on it and moves the building’s wall as a result.

Example 5:

A tool that works by using mechanical energy is a hammer. A hammer’s ability to exert force on a nail in order to move it is made possible by the mechanical energy it possesses.

The hammer can function on the nail because it possesses mechanical energy (in the form of kinetic energy). Work-enabling energy is known as mechanical energy.

Example 6:

Roller coasters are another example of mechanical energy in action. As the roller coaster climbs to the top of the first hill, it gains potential energy due to its height.

As it then falls down the hill, this potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, which propels the coaster along the track. The coaster continues to go up and down hills, converting potential energy into kinetic energy and vice versa, until it finally comes to a stop at the end of the ride.

Example 7:

Hydraulic systems, such as those used in construction equipment, also rely on mechanical energy. A hydraulic system uses a liquid, such as oil, to transmit force from one point to another. The system converts mechanical energy into hydraulic energy, which is then used to operate the equipment.

## Mechanical Energy FAQS

##### What is mechanical energy?

Mechanical energy is the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy that a system possesses due to the position, motion, or deformation of its physical components.

##### What is the formula for mechanical energy?

The formula for mechanical energy is: E_mech = K + U, where E_mech is the total mechanical energy, K is the kinetic energy, and U is the potential energy.

##### What are some examples of mechanical energy?

Some examples of mechanical energy include the motion of a car, the swing of a pendulum, the potential energy of a stretched spring, and the kinetic energy of a moving object.

##### What is the law of conservation of mechanical energy?

The law of conservation of mechanical energy states that in a closed system, the total amount of mechanical energy remains constant, provided there is no external work done on the system.

##### What is the unit of mechanical energy?

The unit of mechanical energy in the International System of Units (SI) is joule (J).

##### How is mechanical energy different from other forms of energy?

Mechanical energy is a form of energy associated with the motion and position of physical objects, while other forms of energy, such as thermal, electrical, and chemical energy, are associated with the internal properties of matter.

##### Can mechanical energy be converted into other forms of energy?

Yes, mechanical energy can be converted into other forms of energy, such as electrical energy in a generator, thermal energy in a brake, or sound energy in a vibrating object.

##### Is mechanical energy conserved in all situations?

No, the conservation of mechanical energy only holds true in closed systems where there is no external work done on the system. In real-world situations, there is always some friction or other external forces acting on the system, which can cause the mechanical energy to be dissipated or lost.

Kathleen Currence is one of the founders of eTutorWorld. Previously a middle school principal in Kansas City School District, she has an MA in Education from the University of Dayton, Ohio. She is a prolific writer, and likes to explain Science topics in student-friendly language. LinkedIn Profile

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