Energy: The Law Of Conservation Of Energy

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Conservation of Energy

Earl James A. Roque
Department of Physics, De La Salle University
2401 Taft Avenue,Manila, Philippines 1004 Abstract
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1. Introduction

1.1 The Law of Conservation of Energy

The Law of Conservation of Energy states that in a close system, the total energy of a system is conserved [1]. Energy could neither be destroyed nor created; it can only transform from one form to another.

Now, energy comes in different forms. Some forms of energy include Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, Chemical Energy, Sound Energy, and Thermal Energy [2]. At one instance, Kinetic Energy may transform to Thermal Energy but in the end, the total
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Upon the removal of the load or force, an object would return to its original size and shape. Mathematically, this can be expressed as F=kx, where F is the deforming force, x is the size of the deformation, and k is the spring constant.

In this experiment, the spring constant of the plunger can be determined by applying force on the spring and recording the displacement of the spring plunger. When the force is plotted versus displacement, the slope of the resulting straight line is equal to the spring constant, k. To get the spring potential energy, the formula PEspring = ½ kx2.

2. Methodology

First, the track was leveled such that the cart does not roll when placed on the track. Afterwards, the spring constant of the cart spring was determined by following the set-up on Figure 1. The cart was placed on the cart with the spring plunger against the stopper and the equilibrium position of the cart was recorded. Afterwards, varying masses were placed on the hanging mass at the other end of the pulley, attached to the cart, noting the changes in position of the cart. The graph of the force of the hanging mass and the displacement of the cart was drawn and the slope obtained would be the spring constant,
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The last 3 results for the Gravitational Potential Energy had values close to the Spring Potential Energy.

4. Conclusion

By having relatively close Potential Energy values for the spring and gravity, we could say that the system done in Figure 2 follows the Law of Conservation of Energy, neglecting the friction along the cart. The spring potential energy of the spring plunger was transformed to the gravitational potential energy of the cart.


[1] Tuckerman, M. E. (2011). Law of conservation of energy [Online]. Available: adv.chem/lectures/lecture_2/node4.html
[2] (n.d.). What are the different forms of energy? [Online]. Available Primer/ forms_of_energy.htm
[3] Hosch, W. L. & Gregersen, E. (2006). Hooke's law [Online]. Available:
[4] De La Salle Univerysity (n.d.). Conservation of energy [Online]. Available FTP: Directory: academics/colleges/cos/physics/_pdf/ File:
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