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.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • crisis management plan (CMP)

    A crisis management plan (CMP) outlines how to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect an organization's ...

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

SearchStorage

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • megabytes per second (MBps)

    Megabytes per second (MBps) is a unit of measurement for data transfer speed to and from a computer storage device.

  • zettabyte

    A zettabyte is a unit of measurement used by technology professionals and the general public to describe a computer or other ...

Close