Energy Conservation Rapid Review for AP Physics B & C

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 10, 2011

For a more thorough review, refer to these concepts:

Rapid Review

  • Energy is the ability to do work. Both energy and work are scalars.
  • The work done on an object (or by an object) is equal to that object's change in kinetic energy.
  • Potential energy is energy of position, and it comes in a variety of forms; for example, there's gravitational potential energy and spring potential energy.
  • The energy of a closed system is conserved. To solve a conservation of energy problem, start by writing KEi + PEi + W = KEf + PEf , where "i" means "initial," "f " means "final," and W is the work done by friction. Think about what type of PE you're dealing with; there might even be more than one form of PE in a single problem!
  • Power is the rate at which work is done, measured in watts. Power is equal to work/time, which is equivalent to force multiplied by velocity.
  • If the functional form of a conservative force is known, then the potential energy attributable to that force is given by

When this U is graphed against displacement, the motion of an object can be predicted by imagining "Chris on a skateboard" skating on the graph.

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