Gravitational Potential Energy To Mechanical Energy: How to Convert,When,Where,Examples And Facts


Any object at rest possessing energy due to virtue of its position under the influence of gravitational force is called gravitational potential energy.

From the law of energy conservation, conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy involves accelerating the stationary body to do work. So in this post, you will get to know more about the conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy and the facts.

The mechanical work can be in the form of either kinetic or potential energy.

How are gravitational potential and Mechanical energy related?

The first law of thermodynamics describes how energy can be transformed from one form to another. It is sufficient to know the relation between gravitational potential energy and mechanical energy.

The mass of the object and at what height the object is placed above the ground level describes the gravitational potential energy. When the mass and height of the object increase, the gravitational potential energy on the object is more; when it is released from a maximum height, the velocity acquired by the object will be more; thus, mechanical energy is also more.

This means that gravitational potential energy and mechanical energy possesses linear proportionality relation.

How is gravitational potential energy converted to Mechanical energy?

Work-energy theorem always specifies the mechanical work done on the system by transforming energy. Using this principle, the gravitational potential energy is converted into mechanical energy.

Objects in air possess maximum gravitational energy stored inside the object. When it is made to fall, the stored energy is released and ready to do work by acquiring mechanical energy.

File:Falling body.svg - Wikimedia Commons gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy
Falling body converting gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy
Image credits: Wikimedia commons

When gravitational potential energy is converted to Mechanical energy?

Any object does not move until any external force triggers them.

Suppose an object is kept at a certain height; the object possesses maximum gravitational potential energy. If any external force is exerted on them, they will begin to fall by releasing their stored potential energy by gravity. The falling object possesses kinetic energy.

The kinetic energy acquired by the object is the work exerted on the object, thus, converting gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy.

Where is gravitational potential energy converted to Mechanical energy?

The gravitational potential rises as there is an increase in height. So when the object is kept at maximum height, there are more chances of gaining maximum mechanical energy.

As the height increases, the gravity pulling the downward object increases. This increase in the exertion of gravity on the object makes them accelerate by gaining kinetic energy. An increase in the velocity makes the object transfer its stored potential energy. This transferred potential energy is mechanical energy.

Gravitational potential energy to Mechanical energy formula

When the conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy occurs, the body begins to move, possessing kinetic energy. The sum of this kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy is the mechanical energy possessed by the body.

The equation U=mgh gives the gravitational potential energy of a body, where m is the body’s mass, g is the gravitational force, and h is the height.

The kinetic energy is given by K=1/2mv2 where m is mass and v is velocity. The mechanical energy due to gravitational potential energy is given by

E=U+K; this expression describes the relation between gravitational potential energy and mechanical energy.

Gravitational potential energy to Mechanical energy efficiency

The efficiency of converting gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy involves a very less amount of gravitational energy to do maximum work. The formula is given as follows;

Eout is the converted energy, and Ein is the initial form of energy.

Since mechanical energy is nothing but the sum of kinetic and gravitational potential energy, which is also known as the system’s total energy. So the equation can be written as

Gravitational potential energy to Mechanical energy examples

Waterfalls

Before falling from a cliff, water possesses gravitational potential energy; as it falls, it possesses kinetic energy. The sum of these two energy possessed by water is mechanical energy.

Wrecking ball

The wrecking ball is used to demolish the large buildings. At the height above from ground, the ball has gravitational potential energy; it does the mechanical work on the building when it is dropped.

Ripen fruits on the tree

A ripen fruit before falling possesses gravitational potential energy. When it is about to fall, the potential energy is converted into mechanical energy.

Roller coaster

A Roller coaster ride combines gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy. Some mechanical work is done on the car chair, which is responsible for the car’s motion.

Pendulum

The pendulum possesses gravitational potential energy before swinging. This energy is converted into mechanical energy as it begins to swing.

Raised weights

Due to height, a raised weight possesses gravitational potential energy. When it is pulled down, the mechanical energy comes into action.

Flight of aeroplane

Aeroplanes can efficiently fly in the sky due to the conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy.

Ferris wheel

The lifting and falling of the cabin of the Ferris wheel are due to the conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy.

Bounced ball

When a ball is bounced at a certain height, it possesses gravitational potential energy. While bouncing back, the speed of the ball is increased by converting it into mechanical energy.

Swings

While playing swings, everyone experiences maximum speed while moving from a greater height toward ground level. This is due to the conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy.

Vehicles at the top of the hill

If you park your vehicles at the top of the hill, it has maximum gravitational potential energy. This is converted into kinetic energy while moving down. The action of kinetic energy is carried by mechanical energy.

Hydraulic turbines

Water falling from a certain height causes the turbine to rotate. Initially, the water possesses gravitational potential energy, which works on the turbine to do mechanical action.

Weighing scale

The balancing action of traditional weighing scale involves the conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy.

Slides in park

Because of virtue of height, the kid at the top of the slide possesses gravitational potential energy. As he slides down, it begins to accelerate, which is the form of mechanical energy.

Gravitron

A gravitron works on centrifugal force and the zero-gravity principle employed in an amusement park. When the graviton begins to accelerate, the gravitational potential energy is converted into mechanical energy to do work and prevent the person from falling.

Conclusion

From this post, we get to know that conversion of gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy takes place through producing kinetic energy.

Keerthi Murthi

I am Keerthi K Murthy, I have completed post graduation in Physics, with the specialization in the field of solid state physics. I have always consider physics as a fundamental subject which is connected to our daily life. Being a science student I enjoy exploring new things in physics. As a writer my goal is to reach the readers with the simplified manner through my articles. Reach me – keerthikmurthy24@gmail.com

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