# Potential Energy for BEGINNERS - 5 Levels - (Gravitational, Elastic) - Classical Physics by Parth G

Share
Parth G
Published at : 26 Oct 2021
1277 views
313
2

Big Thanks to Curiosity Box for sponsoring this video! Go to https://www.curiositybox.com/Parth and enter code PARTH10 to save \$10 on your subscription!

What is Potential Energy? And how can we understand the various different types of potential energy? We’ll be answering these questions in this video, in 5 levels of difficulty!

Level 1 - Potential energy, in terms of a worded definition, can be thought of in two ways: (1) the energy as a result of how objects are arranged relative to each other and the forces they exert on each other, and (2) the energy stored in a system that can later be converted to another type of energy (e.g. kinetic energy). We look at the definitions of gravitational potential energy and elastic potential energy, and see how these relate to our two general definitions of potential energy.

Level 2 - The formula for gravitational potential energy depends on the mass of our objects, its height above the ground, and the gravitational field strength of the Earth. The elastic potential energy for a spring system depends on the extension of the spring, and its spring constant. In this part we see how to calculate these different potential energies numerically rather than just describing them with words.

Level 3 - The point in space at which an object has zero potential energy is not uniquely defined. In other words, we can CHOOSE the most convenient point where we say our system has zero potential energy. This is because potential energy is just a theoretical concept, and we see how this applies to gravitational potential energy. Once we choose our zero point however, we need to make sure we stick to it in the rest of our calculation, in order for the Law of Conservation of Energy to hold and be properly calculated.

Level 4 - We look at where our potential energy equations come from in the first place, the work done on our object / system against the force relevant to the potential energy (or equivalently the work done by our force on our object when converting stored potential energy to other kinds of energy). We also see the basic equation for work done (force x distance) is just a simplification, and we look at the full integral version - the work done on an object is the integral of the force exerted on it with respect to position. The integral is a definite integral, with the limits being the start and end position of the object we’re studying. In other words, the path our object takes between the start and end points does not matter - the change in its potential energy is the same if the start and end points are the same. This is because the forces we are dealing with are conservative forces.

Level 5 - we look at conservative forces (where the work they do is independent of the path taken by our object). These are the forces that have an associated potential energy defined. Whereas non-conservative forces do not have a defined potential energy. Generally, non-conservative forces tend to be our simplified view of more complex forces. For example, friction is non-conservative, dissipating lots of heat and is dependent on the path taken by our object. But in reality friction is just a simplified look at the electrostatic interaction between two objects.

Many of you have asked about the stuff I use to make my videos, so I’m posting some affiliate links here! I make a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.
A Quantum Physics Book I Enjoy: https://amzn.to/3sxLlgL
My Camera (Sony A6400): https://amzn.to/2SjZzWq
ND Filter: https://amzn.to/3qoGwHk
Microphone and Stand (Fifine): https://amzn.to/2OwyWvt
Gorillapod Tripod: https://amzn.to/3wQ0L2Q

Thanks so much for watching - please do check out my socials here:
Instagram - @parthvlogs
Patreon - patreon.com/parthg
Music Chanel - Parth G’s Shenanigans
Merch - https://parth-gs-merch-stand.creator-spring.com/

Timestamps:
0:00 - Potential Energy in 5 Levels of Difficulty
0:33 - Level 1 - What is Potential Energy? 2 Definitions and 2 Examples
4:31 - Sponsor Message - Check out the Link to Curiosity Box in the Description Below!
6:06 - Level 2 - How to Calculate Gravitational and Elastic Potential Energy
10:24 - Level 3 - We Can Choose Where the Zero Potential Energy Point Is!
11:57 - Level 4 - Explaining These Equations: Forces, Work, and Integrals
15:11 - Level 5 - Conservative Forces, Path-Independent Energy, Non-Conservative Forces
16:36 - More Levels of Potential Energy? Does it Get Problematic?