Browse Definitions:
Definition

work

Work is force applied over distance. Examples of work include lifting an object against the Earth's gravitation, driving a car up a hill, and pulling down a captive helium balloon. Work is a mechanical manifestation of energy.

The standard unit of work is the joule (J), equivalent to a newton - meter (N · m). This reduces to one kilogram-meter squared per second squared (kg · m 2 /s 2 or kg · m 2 · s -2 ) in base International System of Units (SI) units. Alternatively, the erg, equivalent to a dyne - centimeter (dyn · cm), can be used to express work. One erg reduces to one gram-centimeter squared per second squared (g · cm 2 /s 2 or g · cm 2 · s -2 ) in base SI units.

To convert from joules to ergs, mulitiply by 10,000,000 (10 7 ). Conversely, multiply by 0.0000001 (10 -7 ).

For a given force F (in newtons) applied over a displacement d (in meters), the work w (in joules) is given by:

w = Fd

If, in practice, force is not applied in the same direction as the displacement that results in actual work (this is the case for a car ascending a hill, for example), the vector form of the above formula must be used. For a given force vector F (in newtons, in a specified direction) applied to an object that undergoes displacement d (in meters), the work w (in joules) is given by the dot product of the force vector and the displacement vector:

w = F · d = Fd cos q

where q is the angle between the applied force vector and the direction of the displacement that results in actual work.

The above formulas also apply for work in ergs, force magnitude in dynes, and displacement magnitude in centimeters.

Although work is usually defined in mechanical terms, it can result from the action of electric fields, magnetic fields, thermal heating, particle bombardment, and various other phenomena.

Also see energy, force, mass, newton, second, SI, and Table of Physical Units.

This was last updated in August 2008

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

    The Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES, is a symmetric block cipher used by the U.S. government to protect classified ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • spear phishing

    Spear phishing is an email-spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • CIFS (Common Internet File System)

    CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a protocol that gained popularity around the year 2000, as vendors worked to establish an ...

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close