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The Energy of Nature$
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E. C. Pielou

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226668062

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226668055.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

What is Energy? Some Preliminary Physics

What is Energy? Some Preliminary Physics

(p.5) 2 What is Energy? Some Preliminary Physics
The Energy of Nature

E. C. Pielou

University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses the question: What is energy? It discusses the concept of work, energy conversions, potential energy (PE), and kinetic energy. Energy results from two kinds of forces. One kind, exemplified by gravity and elasticity, is called a conservative force; its salient feature is that it can be stored as gravitational PE and elastic PE. A system in which the only forces acting are conservative forces never runs down. The other kind of force, exemplified by friction and air resistance, is nonconservative. When nonconservative forces are operating, either alone or in combination with conservative ones, a system inevitably runs down. Nonconservative forces produce heat, and the heat can never spontaneously turn back into another kind of energy.

Keywords:   work, energy conversions, potential energy, kinetic energy, gravity, elasticity, conservative force, nonconservative force

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