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Old Jul 24th 2012, 05:02 PM   #1
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Energy Conversion Explanation

I have a ball behind suspended at the top of a ramp. The ball rolls down the ramp and triggers a switch. The switch is connected to a 9V battery and a motor and turns on once the switch is pressed. The motor acts as a fan because it has "blades" attached to it and spins and produces wind.

I know that the ball rolling is potential to kinetic. I also believe that the battery itself is chemical potential energy that is then converted to electrical energy. When the ball hits the switch, is the act of hitting the switch considered mechanical to electrical? I need to be able to explain all of the energy conversions going on here. If someone could walk me through this with an answer it would be great.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 25th 2012, 08:32 AM   #2
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Depending on how the ball behaves after it hits the switch (does it bounce back? Or is it an inelastic collison?) its kinetic energy is converted partially to potential energy of the spring action of the switch being activated, plus conversion to heat if the ball material compresses inelastically. The switch does not "create" electricity, so no conversion to electrical energy at that point.
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