Tag Archives: energy

The Three Laws of Energy

by Gordon Ettie

“Energy is not lost or destroyed, it is merely transferred from one party to the next.” – Sir Isaac Newton

thermodynamics
thermodynamics

In a discussion of energy the basic understanding revolves around the fact that there are three laws.  These are simple laws dealing with energy and can be defined as follows:

First Law

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.  This means that you can’t make energy out of nothing— the total amount of energy in the universe is a constant. (Please note that this applies to a closed system – the Earth is not a closed system, the Earth receives energy all the time from the Sun).

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Energy – mechanical, potential, kinetic

energy pendulum
energy pendulum

Work is done upon an object whenever a force acts upon it to cause it to be displaced. Work involves a force acting upon an object to cause a displacement. In all instances in which work is done, there is an object that supplies the force in order to do the work.

energy displacement
energy displacement

An object that possesses some form of energy supplies the force to do the work. In the process of doing work, the object that is doing the work exchanges energy with the object upon which the work is done. When the work is done upon the object, that object gains energy. The energy acquired by the objects upon which work is done is known as mechanical energy.

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