Potential Energy

  • Calculate the gravitational potential energy of a particle in various situations.

  • Calculate the elastic potential energy of a particle attached to a stretched spring.

Potential Energy is the energy stored in an object due to its position.

Gravitational Potential Energy

\[U = mgh\]

Elastic Potential Energy

\[U = \dfrac{1}{2} k x^2\]

where k = stiffness(spring) constant

Solved Examples

Solved Example:


Jack climbs a mountain via a short, steep trail. Jill ascends the same mountain via a long and considerably less steep path. Which of the following statements is true? Assume that Jack and Jill have the same mass.


$\Delta U = mgh$, same h for both. So gravitational potential energy is same.

Reference: http://resources.seattlecentral.edu

Correct Answer: C

Solved Example:


A compressed spring possesses _________. (RRC Group D Sept 2018 Shift II)

Correct Answer: C

Solved Example:


A ball is dropped from a height h and rebounds to a height which is 80 % of the initial height. Find the ratio of final potential energy to the initial potential energy of the ball. (Airforce Group X Nov 2020)

Correct Answer: B

Solved Example:


The energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position is called the _________.(HSSC Lower Division Clerk Feb 2020 Shift III)

Correct Answer: D