Potential Energy Variation in Fluids
When a spring is compressed, work is performed on it to squeeze it together. A portion of this work energy is stored up in the spring as potential energy, which is used up (converted to kinetic energy) as the spring expands back to its original, presqueezed length. Potential energy is thus energy made by storing up the results of some active work. One does work in winding up tighter and tighter the spring inside a small toy car. When the car is released on the floor, the stored energy converts to kinetic, which works against inner friction of the car’s driving mechanism, the friction of the wheels against the floor, the car against the air, and so on, and propels it some distance. The distance depends on how much potential energy was stored up by the spring in the first place—how tightly it was wound or how much work was originally done on it.
KeywordsPotential Energy Hydraulic Head Buoyancy Force Hydrocarbon Trap Potential Energy Variation
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