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An object of mass 40 kg is raised to a height of 5 m above the ground. What is its potential energy? If the object is allowed to fall, find its kinetic energy when it is halfway down.

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Gravitational potential energy is given by the expression,

W = mgh


h = Vertical displacement = 5 m

m = Mass of the object = 40 kg

g = Acceleration due to gravity = 9.8 m s−2

Therefore, W = 40 × 5 × 9.8 = 1960 J.

At half-way down, the potential energy of the object will be 1960/2 = 980 J.

At this point, the object has an equal amount of potential and kinetic energy. This is due to the law of conservation of energy. Hence, half-way down, the kinetic energy of the object will be 980 J.

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