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Lesson 6.1: What is Work?

In week 6 we explore work and energy, then power – the rate of doing work. We'll use work and Newton's second law to derive the quantity called kinetic energy. Looking at where work comes from, we'll distinguish two sorts of force – conservative and non-conservative. That will allow us to introduce potential energy and mechanical energy. Power is the rate of doing work. We'll spend some time relating these quantities and their units to your everyday experience, relating Joules to kilowatt hours (the unit used by electricity companies) and kilowatts to horsepower and to human power.

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