Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Potential Energy


In physics, the potential energy of an object is the energy which it possesses due to its position or its orientation with respect to a field of forces. [1] In the case of a system, the potential energy can depend by the arrangement of the elements that compose it. [2] It can be seen also as the potential energy capacity of an object (or system) to transform its energy into another form of energy, such as the kinetic energy.

The term "potential energy" was coined by Rankine in 1853. In the international system is measured in joules (J).

It is a scalar function of the coordinates of the object in the reference system used. Given a conservative vector field, the potential energy is its capacity to do work: the work relating to a force acting on an object is the line integral of the second kind of force evaluated on the path taken by the object, and if it is conservative value of this integral does not depend on the type of path followed. When it has to do with conservative forces can be defined as a scalar potential, which is sometimes made to coincide with the potential energy, defined in the whole space. In particular, from the mathematical point of view this potential exists only if the force is conservative, and the rest is assumed that for all the conservative forces can always define a potential energy physically.