Is the mechanical energy of a Teflon coated block sliding down a rough incline remaining constant?
In the Universe, according to the current Physics paradigm, total energy always remains constant. That is, energy can be transformed in different ways, including mass, but the total sum always remains constant. However, if we study a particular system of the Universe we can see how the energy of that system can increase or decrease because the rest of the universe is not being considered.
Answer and Explanation:
If in this case we consider as our system only the Teflon-covered block we can say that its energy will decrease as it descends through the ramp. If the block was initially at rest its initial energy would be only gravitational potential energy. When beginning to descend through the ramp that energy will be transformed kinetic energy, however due to the frictional force that exists between the block and the ramp not all gravitational potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy, because there is a part of that energy is transformed into heat. That is, part of the initial energy is invested in heating the surface of the block and the ramp.
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Learn more about this topic:
from ICSE Environmental Science: Study Guide & SyllabusChapter 1 / Lesson 6