CAPS Physical Science Grade 12 Mechanics: Work, Energy, and Power Revision Notes
Introduction
Work, energy, and power are fundamental concepts in physics that explain how forces influence objects and their motion. In the Grade 12 CAPS Physical Science curriculum, understanding these concepts is crucial for solving realworld physics problems.
Key Points
 Work (W)
 Defined as the product of the force (F) applied to an object and the displacement (Δx) in the direction of the force.
 Formula: ( W = F \Delta x \cos \theta )

Work is measured in Joules (J).

Energy
 Kinetic Energy (Ek): Energy of a moving object.
 Formula: ( E_k = \frac{1}{2}mv^2 )
 Potential Energy (Ep): Energy stored due to the position of an object.
 Formula: ( E_p = mgh )

Mechanical Energy (Emech): Sum of kinetic and potential energy.
 Formula: ( E_{mech} = E_p + E_k )

Power (P)
 Rate at which work is done or energy is transferred.
 Formula: ( P = \frac{W}{\Delta t} )

Measured in Watts (W).

WorkEnergy Theorem
 The net work done on an object is equal to the change in its kinetic energy.

Formula: ( W_{net} = \Delta E_k )

Conservation of Mechanical Energy
 The total mechanical energy in an isolated system remains constant if only conservative forces are acting.
 Formula: ( (E_p + E_k)_A = (E_p + E_k)_B )
RealWorld Applications
 Lifting Objects

Example: Lifting a 40 kg crate 10 meters high.
 Work done against gravity: ( W = F \Delta x )
 ( W = (40 \text{ kg} \times 9.8 \text{ m/s}^2) \times 10 \text{ m} = 3920 \text{ J} )

Vehicles

Calculating the power needed by a car engine to travel at constant speed.
 If ( F = 100 \text{ N} ) and ( v = 20 \text{ m/s} ), then ( P = F \cdot v = 2000 \text{ W} ).

Pulleys and Inclines
 Determining the velocity of an object being pulled up an incline, considering energy, work done by applied force, and friction.
Common Misconceptions and Errors
 Direction of Forces
 Misunderstanding the angle (θ) between the displacement and the force can lead to incorrect calculations of work.

Ensure θ is the angle between the direction of the force and the direction of displacement.

Work Done by Friction

Many assume friction always does negative work, but it depends on the direction of motion and force applied.

Power Calculation
 Confusing power with force. Power involves both force and velocity, not just force.
Practice and Review
Questions:
1. Calculate the work done by a force of 50 N that moves an object 5 m at an angle of 60° to the displacement.
2. A 2 kg ball is dropped from a height of 10 m. Calculate its speed just before it hits the ground. Neglect air resistance.
3. A car engine produces a power output of 1500 W and moves with a constant velocity of 25 m/s. What is the force exerted by the engine?
Solutions:
1. ( W = F \Delta x \cos \theta = 50 \times 5 \times \cos 60° = 125 \text{ J} )
2. Using ( E_p = E_k ) (since mechanical energy is conserved):
[ mgh = \frac{1}{2}mv^2 ]
[ v = \sqrt{2gh} = \sqrt{2 \times 9.8 \text{ m/s}^2 \times 10 \text{ m}} = 14 \text{ m/s} ]
3. ( P = Fv \Rightarrow F = \frac{P}{v} = \frac{1500 \text{ W}}{25 \text{ m/s}} = 60 \text{ N} )
Connections and Extensions
 Physics and Engineering: Understanding work, energy, and power aids in the design of machines and structures.
 Environmental Science: Efficiency of energy transfer is critical in sustainable energy solutions.
Summary and Quick Review
 Work: ( W = F \Delta x \cos \theta )
 Energy: Includes kinetic (( E_k = \frac{1}{2}mv^2 )) and potential (( E_p = mgh )).
 Power: ( P = \frac{W}{\Delta t} )
 WorkEnergy Theorem: ( W_{net} = \Delta E_k )
 Conservation of Mechanical Energy: ( (E_p + E_k)_A = (E_p + E_k)_B )
Additional Resources
 Khan Academy: Work and Energy
 YouTube: CrashCourse Physics on Work, Energy, and Power
 Physics Classroom: Work and Energy Interactive Tutorial
These notes provide a foundational understanding of work, energy, and power for Grade 12 Physical Science students, emphasizing key concepts, practical applications, and common pitfalls .