e d g e - education for disability and gender equity

PHYSICS
CONTENTS

1 Work
2 Energy
3 Momentum
4 Center of Gravity
   
5 ACTIVITY
6 RESOURCES
   

WORK

In physics, work is defined as a force acting upon an object to cause a movement. There are three key words in this definition - force, movement, and cause. In order for a force to qualify as having done work on an object, there must be a movement and the force must cause the movement.

There are several good examples of work which can be observed in everyday life - a father pushing a grocerywoman lifting a barbell cart down the aisle of a grocery store, a service dog pulling a student in a wheelchair across a sloped sidewalk, a weightlifter lifting a barbell above her head.

In each case described here there is a force exerted upon an object to cause that object to be moved. If a barbell is moved from ground level to a height above a weightlifter's head, then the weightlifter is supplying a force to do work on the barbell.

In all instances, an object which possesses some form of energy supplies the force to do the work. The object doing the work (for example, a weightlifter) possesses chemical potential energy stored in food or fuel which is transformed into work. When the barbell comes down (as they will) the force of gravity is causing the movement. The objects doing work give energy to do work on the other object. Mechanical energy is the energy acquired by the objects when work is done to them.

(next section - ENERGY)


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