Science class question?

describe the energy transformation during a bobsled run, beginning with team members pushing to start the sled and ending when the brake is applied to stop the sled after crossing the finish line. include work as one form of energy in your answer.

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  • 10 months ago

    I want to preface this with the fact that work is not a form of energy, it is more of a description of energy. In physics class, work and energy were pretty much interchangeable. The work done to lift a weight, for example, is the amount of energy you must expend to increase that weight's gravitational potential energy.

    Right before the team members start to push the sled, their kinetic energy is 0 but they have the maximum gravitational potential energy. Once they start pushing, their muscles convert chemical potential energy (from food) and oxygen (from their lungs) into kinetic energy (motion). Once they jump into the sled, gravity does the rest of the work, converting their remaining gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy. Along the way, some of the kinetic energy is transferred to the air through drag, a form of friction, and from the sled blades to the ice through friction. Both of those forms of energy transfer heat up the environment. Finally, after the sled crosses the line, they hit the brakes which drastically increases the frictional force with the ice, converting the sled's and the team members' kinetic energy into heat.

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