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Old Oct 5th 2008, 02:13 AM   #1
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Question Physics Question

When do you use the work energy theorem?

Last edited by Nimmy; Oct 5th 2008 at 02:16 AM.
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Old Oct 5th 2008, 07:42 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nimmy View Post
When do you use the work energy theorem?
The work-energy theorem can be used under practically any situation. This is basically a statement of conservation of energy.

In a practical sense, most introductory classes only use it for situations where the work done is only by conservative forces. Nonconservative forces or forces that contrubute to or take away from the systm are typically evaluated as nonconservative forces.

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Old Oct 6th 2008, 08:01 AM   #3
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There are sometimes three ways to solve a mechanics problem. One is to use the laws of motion. One is the force method, that is Newton's three laws. The last is the energy method or the work-energy theorem.
One must first begin by mastering the first method mentioned abv, then the 2nd then the third.

The third method sometimes solves problems faster, however, to understand physics indepth, it is imperative one masters the other methods first. Reason being that the work-energy theorem is nothing but some basic calculus done upon Newton's 2nd law, and new terms defined, viz., energy and work.
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