Potential energy

| January 28, 2015

A 2.0 kg sloth hangs 5.0 m above the ground (Fig. 8-6). (a) What is the gravitational potential energy U of. The sloth – Earth system if we take the reference point y = 0 to be (1) at the ground, (2) at a balcony floor that is 3.0 m above the ground, (3) at the limb, and (4) 1.0 m above the limb? Take the gravitational potential energy to be zero at y = 0.


FIG- 8-6 Four choices of reference point y = 0. Each y axis is marked in units of meters. The choice affects the value of the potential energy U of the sloth-Earth system. However, it does not affect the change ?U in potential energy of the system if the sloth moves by, say, falling.

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