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Potential Energy of an Object at a Height

An object increases its potential energy when raised through a height. This is because work is done on it against gravity while it is being raised. The energy present in such an object is called gravitational potential energy.

Gravitational potential energy is defined as the work done in raising it from the ground to that point against gravity.

Gravitational potential energy is the energy stored in an object as the result of its vertical position (i.e., height). The energy is stored as the result of the gravitational attraction of the Earth for the object. The gravitational potential energy of the massive ball of a demolition machines is dependent on two variables - the mass of the ball and the height to which it is raised. There is a direct relation between gravitational potential energy and the mass of an object; more massive objects have greater gravitational potential energy. There is also a direct relation between gravitational potential energy and the height of an object; the higher an object is elevated, the greater the gravitational potential energy.

Consider an object of mass 'm'. Let it be raised through a height 'h' from the ground.

A force needs to be applied to do this. The minimum force required will be equal to its weight mg. Work done to raise the object is given by W = F x s

W = mg x h

W = mgh joule.

Since work done is equal to the energy gained by it,

EP = mgh joule.


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