Gravitational Potential Energy Definition

Discover the definition and importance of gravitational potential energy. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics on this fascinating concept.

What is Gravitational Potential Energy?

Gravitational potential energy is the energy stored within an object due to its height above the ground. It is the potential energy an object possesses when raised to a certain height. This energy is a result of the gravitational force between the object and the Earth.

Formula for Gravitational Potential Energy

The formula to calculate gravitational potential energy is: PE = mgh, where PE is the potential energy, m is the mass of the object, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and h is the height of the object.

Examples of Gravitational Potential Energy

  • A ball at the top of a hill has gravitational potential energy.
  • A pendulum at its highest point has gravitational potential energy.
  • Water stored in a dam has gravitational potential energy.

Case Studies

One famous case study of gravitational potential energy is the Hoover Dam. The water stored in the dam has immense potential energy due to its height above the ground. This energy is harnessed to generate hydroelectric power, benefiting millions of people in the surrounding areas.

Statistics on Gravitational Potential Energy

  • On average, a car at the top of a hill has around 100,000 Joules of gravitational potential energy.
  • The potential energy of water stored in a hydroelectric dam can be in the megawatt range.

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