MECHANICAL ENERGY | Concept, technical details and operation

According to the law of conservation of energy, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed . Mechanical energy is a kind of energy composed of others and is what allows a body to do a specific job or effort.

For mechanical energy to be generated , kinetic energy, potential energy , and force must be involved . This energy can be seen in every aspect of daily life.

What is mechanical energy?

Mechanical energy is that which a body presents in function of its movement and location with respect to another body . Mechanical energy can be defined as the ability of objects with mass to carry out an effort or work . This energy is kept constant thanks to the action of the conservative forces that work on the elements involved.

How does mechanical energy work?

Basically, mechanical energy is made up of two kinds of forces: the one that presents the kinetic energy and the one that is incorporated by the potential energy, which can be gravitational or elastic .

Gravitational potential energy is found in any object that is at rest and is a kind of energy because every body at rest has the ability to move . Potential energy can also be elastic . This refers to the ability of a body to lose or regain its original shape as a result of an external stimulus.

On the other hand, kinetic energy is what specifically manifests movement. This is conditioned by the speed and by the mass of the object in question. Any body that moves and does work needs to be influenced by a force . The length of time that the force is on the body will affect the speed that the object reaches. The longer the time, the higher the speed.

It is the force that allows the movement to be activated or even stopped . This can be of different classes: elastic, gravity , friction, etc. Force expresses the ability of objects with mass to do some kind of work.

Characteristics of mechanical energy

  • Mechanical energy is one of the forms of energy that bodies have with the capacity to make movements in other bodies .
  • It implies the action of two kinds of energy, according to the condition or state that the body is in. These energies are: Potential and Kinetic .
  • Kinetic and potential energy are related to each other.
    • When a body is at rest , the potential energy is maximum and the kinetic energy is zero.
    • When a body is in motion (maximum speed), the potential energy is zero, and the kinetic energy is maximum.
  • Mechanical energy is the sum of potential and kinetic energy .

What is mechanical energy used for?

This is used to carry out countless jobs, whether logistical or industrial . As long as there is motion, mechanical energy will be present. In addition, it is the regulating principle of other kinds of energy, such as:

  • Hydraulic energy :Take advantage of the waterfalls to convert potential energy into other energies.
  • Wind energy : It is the one that takes advantage of the wind to carry out other works.
  • Tidal energy: Kinetic energy contained in tides and waves.
Wind power.

examples of mechanical energy

To better understand how mechanical energy works, it is important to visualize it in action. Pay attention to these examples:

  • The operation of a dam :  When it drops the water, the potential energy (the one that the water has stored at rest) is transformed into kinetic energy (of movement). The sum of these two is what is known as mechanical energy. This is what manages to move the blades of the turbine so that it rotates and then transforms into electrical energy .
  • The rope mechanism:  The spring is what releases the kinetic energy, which allows different jobs to be carried out, such as moving a toy car.
  • When you slide down a slide:  In this case, the potential energy of gravity stored in the body is converted into kinetic energy as it slides down the surface.
  • Carrying a piece of furniture from one place to another:  To move a heavy object, force must be applied and friction force must be overcome . In this way the kinetic energy of the person is transmitted to the piece of furniture and it will move along with it.

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