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Work

Work

Force Work at 30 Degrees DiagramIntroduction: The idea of work refers to a force acting on an object to cause displacement in the object. In order for work to be performed on a given object, the force applied to an object must lead to a given displacement of the object from its original position. If there is no displacement in the object, work is not performed. The equation for work is shown below:

W=Fdcos[math]theta[/math], where W=work, F=force applied, d=distance, and [math]theta[/math]=angle to the horizontal

There are many real-world examples of work. Examples include a person pushing a box on a sidewalk, a parent pushing his or her cart in the supermarket, a horse pulling a carriage through the park, a person putting down a set of weights at the gym, and a student lifting a book off a desk. All of these examples, as per the definition of work, involve an applied force causing a displacement in a given object.

The unit of work is the joule, which is equivalent to 1 newton•meter, based on the equation for force. Work, however, also must take into consideration the angle at which the force and displacement are to one another. For example, if the force and the displacement move opposite to one another, the angle between them would be 180º. On the other hand, if the force and displacement move in the same direction, the angle between them would be 0º.


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