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Power and Efficiency

Explores energy used to do work and how much work was necessary to achieve the goal.

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Toy Efficiently!

Does efficiency always depend on how advanced the technology being used is?


Credit: zoetnet
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoetnet/4485539046/sizes/o/in/photolist-7Qnyu7-a4WTWW-a4X1QS-a4X7Py-a4WTWy-a4X1RY-a4X1RJ-a4X7Pm-a4X1Rs-a4WTWd-a4X7Pd-a4X7PE-a4Ydj3-a4X7PA-a4X7Pw-a4X1Rd-a4Ydjb-a4Ydj9-cK3Cj3-7RUWfL-dkhKP5-af7zXe-afammY-afan2f-afajTC-afaouG-afankU-afanWC-af7xsD-af7xTD-af7ycF-afamzC-af7zpR-af7yTX-afamQN-afakRf-afak8b-afakBu-afakuU-af7zaK-af7zN8-afakZd-afajDC-afak2U-afamfY-af7A4v-af7wsP/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A new toy factory is built to compete with a local workshop. Employing many workers to operate advanced machinery, the factory executives aim to produce more toys a year than the workshop and drive it out of business. On the first day of operations, locals are amazed by the astounding technology being used to produce toys in the factory. After an hour's work, the factory’s 1,000 employees have produced 900 toys. The workshop’s 20 employees have made 10 toys after working the same amount of time.

As work is performed over a certain amount of time, energy is transferred in the form of power. Though we perform work all the time, we may not be getting the best results for our efforts.

Creative Applications

1. If we considered number of employees as input power and number of toys as output power, was the factory or workshop more efficient?

2. The workshop owners have decided to open nine more workshops and put 30 employees in each one to expand their production. If each of the employees still work just as fast as they did in the first workshop, has efficiency improved at all? (Hint: Try finding how many toys a single workshop would now make in an hour. Keep in mind there are multiple workshops, then try solving for efficiency as you did in #1.)

3. What possible ways could the workshop make its efficiency exceed that of the factory?

4. One of the factory’s 10,000-watt machines takes 20 seconds towards producing a single toy. A worker in a workshop uses 1000-watt power tools, which take almost 4 minutes to produce one toy. Should the factory consider new machinery? Explain.

5. Think of some devices that make our daily lives more efficient.

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