Difference between revisions of "Potential energy"

From Glossary of Meteorology
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<div class="definition"><div class="short_definition">The [[energy]] a system has by virtue of its position; the negative of the [[work]] done in taking a system from a reference configuration, where the potential energy is assigned the value zero, to a given configuration, with no change in [[kinetic energy]] of the system.</div><br/> <div class="paragraph">An example of potential energy is the [[gravitational potential energy]] of a point mass ''m'' at a  distance ''r'' from the center of a spherically symmetric body with mass ''M'' (e.g., a planet):  <div class="display-formula"><blockquote>[[File:ams2001glos-Pe33.gif|link=|center|ams2001glos-Pe33]]</blockquote></div> where ''G'' is the [[universal gravitational constant]] and the reference potential energy is taken as zero at infinity. At distances ''z'' above the surface of the body that are small compared with its  radius, the potential energy is approximately <div class="display-formula"><blockquote>[[File:ams2001glos-Pe34.gif|link=|center|ams2001glos-Pe34]]</blockquote></div> where ''g'' is the [[acceleration]] due to [[gravity]] at the surface and the zero of potential energy is taken at the surface (''z'' = 0). Molecular potential energies, arising from short-range forces much stronger than [[gravitation]], are involved in all chemical reactions, are responsible for the cohesiveness of liquids and solids, and influence a host of processes such as [[evaporation]] and [[condensation]].</div><br/> </div>
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<div class="definition"><div class="short_definition">The [[energy]] a system has by virtue of its position; the negative of the [[work]] done in taking a system from a reference configuration, where the potential energy is assigned the value zero, to a given configuration, with no change in [[kinetic energy]] of the system.</div><br/> <div class="paragraph">An example of potential energy is the [[gravitational potential energy]] of a point mass ''m'' at a  distance ''r'' from the center of a spherically symmetric body with mass ''M'' (e.g., a planet):  <div class="display-formula"><blockquote>[[File:ams2001glos-Pe33.gif|link=|center|ams2001glos-Pe33]]</blockquote></div> where ''G'' is the [[universal gravitational constant]] and the reference potential energy is taken as zero at infinity. At distances ''z'' above the surface of the body that are small compared with its  radius, the potential energy is approximately <div class="display-formula"><blockquote>[[File:ams2001glos-Pe34.gif|link=|center|ams2001glos-Pe34]]</blockquote></div> where ''g'' is the [[acceleration]] due to [[gravity]] at the surface and the zero of potential energy is taken at the surface (''z'' = 0). Molecular potential energies, arising from short-range forces much stronger than [[gravitation]], are involved in all chemical reactions, are responsible for the cohesiveness of liquids and solids, and influence a host of processes such as [[evaporation]] and [[condensation]].</div><br/> </div>
 
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Latest revision as of 07:34, 14 November 2017



potential energy

The energy a system has by virtue of its position; the negative of the work done in taking a system from a reference configuration, where the potential energy is assigned the value zero, to a given configuration, with no change in kinetic energy of the system.

An example of potential energy is the gravitational potential energy of a point mass m at a distance r from the center of a spherically symmetric body with mass M (e.g., a planet):
ams2001glos-Pe33
where G is the universal gravitational constant and the reference potential energy is taken as zero at infinity. At distances z above the surface of the body that are small compared with its radius, the potential energy is approximately
ams2001glos-Pe34
where g is the acceleration due to gravity at the surface and the zero of potential energy is taken at the surface (z = 0). Molecular potential energies, arising from short-range forces much stronger than gravitation, are involved in all chemical reactions, are responsible for the cohesiveness of liquids and solids, and influence a host of processes such as evaporation and condensation.