Potential Energy

Discussion

W J M Rankine coined the term potential energy 150 years ago.

gravitational potential energy

ΔUg = mgΔh

the more general form will be dealt with later

Ug = − Gm1m2
r

work-energy theorem, two possibilities

force and potential energy

constant total energy, horizontal line above curve, kinetic energy is difference between line and curve

bounded and unbounded states, binding energy

stability of equilibrium

stable equilibrium unstable equilibrium neutral equilibrium
[diagram] [diagram] [diagram]
local maximum local minimum constant potential energy