Calculating Potential Energy
Calculating the potential energy stored by any conservative
force is a simple two-step process:
- Pick a situation or arrangement for which you would like to
say that the potential energy equals zero (U = 0).
- The potential energy of any other position or arrangement
equals the negative of the work that the conservative force does
when the situation is changed from the potential energy = 0
situation to that one.
That's it - just two steps. Some examples might clarify the
update February 25, 2003 by JL