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Newton’s 1st Law of Motion
So, any object in motion will continue moving at a constant speed in a straight line, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. In the same token, any stationary object will remain at rest, unless acted upon by a force.
The energy transferred to an object by a force is an important quantity and is called the work done by the force on the object. The greater the force that is applied, the greater the work done, and the greater the energy transferred to the object on which the force acts.
So the work done by the force is proportional to the magnitude of the force:
Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that the magnitude of the force acting on an object in motion is related to its mass m and the magnitude a of its acceleration by the equation
The kinetic energy of an object equals its mass multiplied by its acceleration multiplied by the distance travelled by the object.
This gives the equation for the kinetic energy:
In terms of mass and speed , the kinetic energy of a moving object is
Note. You will use this equation again and again throughout your study of Physics, so the kinetic energy is a useful and simple equation to memorize.
Now, let’s see how it goes with a worked example. Let’s calculate the kinetic energy of a car, with mass , and travelling at a speed of .
To calculate the kinetic energy, you simply need to substitute the relevant values into the equation.
At this point, you may think: “Wrong answer!
The result is in . Energy must be in Joules!”
But wait, that’s okay. It just so happens that
So, we’re good after all. Phew!
The kinetic energy of the moving car is equal to .