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Calculating Work

Introduction to the SI Unit for work and calculations using Work = Force × Distance

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A glimpse of the gym

How are some people more muscular than others at the gym?

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A muscular person at the gym [Figure1]

Have you noticed how some people in the gym are much buffer than others? It is obvious that they work out harder, but what does it really mean when it comes to physics?

Work, in physics, depends on force and distance. Thus, we have the following formula established: Wnet = Fd. In cases where the force is acting at an angle, we would take the horizontal component of the force and the formula becomes Wnet = Fdcosθ. According to the work formula, you would increase work by either increasing force, distance, or both. In many scenarios, it is like solving for the force, except that you have a distance factor to be taken account of.

Creative Applications

1. In looking at everyone who lifts weights at the gym, what is different about the work done by the buffer people?

2. How do they increase their work? Why?

3. There is a 150 lb. weight on the bench press. How much work does it require to lift the weight up half a meter? (Be careful: convert measurement into SI units first!)

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  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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