Physics Help Forum Gravitational Potential Energy

 Energy and Work Energy and Work Physics Help Forum

 May 15th 2016, 11:30 AM #1 Member   Join Date: Mar 2016 Location: Manchester Posts: 37 Gravitational Potential Energy I am having a little trouble visualizing what the gravitational potential looks like for a uniform gravitational potential field in a graph against distance. I have attached the question below and completed the first graph but I'm not sure how to proceed with the second graph. Any help would be much appreciated as always. Attached Thumbnails
 May 16th 2016, 07:03 AM #2 Physics Team     Join Date: Jun 2010 Location: Naperville, IL USA Posts: 2,271 Since work = force times distance, and in a uniform gravitational field the force is mg, then the graph of PE will be linear, of the form PE = mgh.
 May 16th 2016, 09:16 AM #3 Member   Join Date: Mar 2016 Location: Manchester Posts: 37 That makes sense now. I see that using ΔW = mΔV is good for non-uniform fields at higher distances whereas ΔPe = mgΔh works well for a close distance to the surface with uniform field (i.e. using g) Thanks Chip
May 16th 2016, 02:03 PM   #4
Physics Team

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Naperville, IL USA
Posts: 2,271
 Originally Posted by Clyner82 That makes sense now. I see that using ΔW = mΔV is good for non-uniform fields ...
I'm not following you. In a gravitational field where force is equal to GMm/r^2, the change in PE is equal to GMm(1/r1 - 1/r2).

 Tags energy, gravitational, potential

 Thread Tools Display Modes Linear Mode

 Similar Physics Forum Discussions Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post alongtheway Energy and Work 2 Apr 21st 2013 01:54 PM TGS Energy and Work 1 Nov 19th 2009 09:34 AM arze Kinematics and Dynamics 4 Apr 19th 2009 07:05 PM baytom Advanced Mechanics 5 Feb 22nd 2009 08:59 PM rocket_man Advanced Mechanics 2 Jun 4th 2008 07:50 AM