Thursday, March 20, 2008
In physics, mechanical energy describes the potential energy and kinetic energy present in the components of a mechanical system.
Scientists make simplifying assumptions to make calculations about how mechanical systems react. For example, instead of calculating the mechanical energy separately for each of the billions of molecules in a soccer ball, it is easier to treat the entire ball as one object. This means that only two numbers (one for kinetic mechanical energy, and one for potential mechanical energy) are needed for each dimension (for example, up/down, north/south, east/west) under consideration.
To calculate the energy of a system without any simplifying assumptions would require examining the state of all elementary particle(s) and considering all four fundamental interactions). This is usually only done for very small systems, such as those studied in particle physics.
Posted by bushganizer258 at 10:00 AM