In the previous few chapters we have talked about ways of describing the motion of objects, the cause of motion and gravitation. Another concept that helps us understand and interpret many natural phenomena is ‘work’. Closely related to work are energy and power. In this chapter we shall study these concepts.
What is work? There is a difference in the way we use the term ‘work’ in day-to-day life and the way we use it in science. To make this point clear let us consider a few examples.
Life is impossible without energy. The demand for energy is ever increasing. Where do we get energy from? The Sun is the biggest natural source of energy to us. Many of our energy sources are derived from the Sun. We can also get energy from the nuclei of atoms, the interior of the earth, and the tides. Can you think of other sources of energy?
Do all of us work at the same rate? Do
machines consume or transfer energy at the
same rate? Agents that transfer energy do
work at different rates. Let us understand this
from the following activity:
1. Consider two children, say A and B. Let us say they weigh the same. Both start climbing up a rope separately. Both reach a height of 8 m. Let us say A takes 15 s while B takes 20 s to accomplish the task.
2. What is the work done by each?