Energy ...the basics


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This text is meant to accompany class discussions. It is not everything there is to know about power and energy. It is meant as a  prep for class. More detailed notes and examples are given in the class notes, presentations, and demonstrations (click here.)

Power is defined by how quickly energy is delivered or received. The unit od measurement is the watt. It is abbreviated by a capital "W" because it is named after James Watt. It is modeled mathematically by

Since the change in energy equals the work, the formula can also be written as

This concept of power is not limited to mechanical power. Any time power is discussed, it can always be described energy over time. In the United States, an often used consumer unit of power is the horsepower. It is abbreviated by the letters hp.

Below is information found on the Ford's web site for the version of the Ford Focus that is sold in the United States. Take note of the power's units.

Below is the German version of the Ford Focus. This clip is from Ford's German web site. Note Germany's power units.

This German site posts the power in kiloWatts, (1 kW = 1000 W.)

Example Problem #1


Example Problem #2

Example Problem #3


Power or Work by a Specific Force or Energy


To find the power exerted by or on a body when many forces are acting on the body at the same time, focus on the one force. To find the power of a specific force, calculate the work done by that force. To do this, look at the work done by that force while ignoring all the other forces. For example: A jet was flying with all of the forces acting on it that are shown below.

To calculate the work done by the lift force, all the other forces are ignored, as indicated below.

The work is the (lifting force)(y), where "y" is the distance parallel to the lifting force's direction. The power of this force is found from

The time can be measured directly or calculated by other means, such as kinematics.

by Tony Wayne ...(If you are a teacher, please feel free to use these resources in your teaching.)