Defined in the simplest words, energy is the ability or capacity to do work. Practically, energy is required to perform every activity or work that you do in your day to day life. You need energy to walk, run, drive, cook, jump, play, pull objects, lift kids, and so on. Energy is also required for vehicles to move, machines to run, bulbs to glow, etc. Energy is very crucial for the existence of human beings. And it exists in various forms. Some of the most common forms are heat energy, light energy, electrical energy, chemical energy, tidal energy, gravitational energy and nuclear energy. One form of energy can easily be transferred to another. In this section, we will learn about the law of conservation of energy, the conservation of energy formula and its derivation along with some examples.
Law of Conservation of Energy
According to the law of conservation of energy, the total energy of an isolated system remains conserved over time. In this definition, the isolated system refers to as a thermodynamic system so designed that no matter or energy can pass through it.
Conservation of Energy Formula
The statement of conservation of energy can be written as,
Energy spent in one act = Energy gained in the related act
For a given system, we can write,
As we know, the net amount of energy transfer into or out of any system occurs in the form of heat (Q), mass (m) and work (W). Hence, we can rewrite the aforementioned equation as:
Upon dividing all the terms on both sides of the equation by the mass of the system, the equation represents the law of conservation of energy on a unit mass basis, as shown below:
Thus, we can write the conservation of energy rate equation as:
Real Life Example
We can take the example of a wind mill. The mechanical energy of wind rotates the turbines of a wind mill, which in turn rotate the shaft of an electric generator, thus generating electrical energy. Here, we observe that the mechanical energy of wind gets converted into electrical energy.
Problem: The initial energy and the final energy of a system can be given by 2.95 × 10-3 and 5.86 × 10-3 respectively. Find the energy conservation of the system.
We can use the following formula to compute the energy conservation of the system:
Problem: A particle of charge equal to that of electron and the charge is 1.67 × 10-27 and mass of the particle is 1.30 × 10-27 kg. Compute the law of conservation of energy.
As per the law of conservation of energy formula, we have:
To watch video lectures and solve more examples on the topic, download Byju’s The Learning App.