The kinetic energy of a mass moving horizontally can be completely converted into potential energy using a spring as an intermediary. The spring can be used to temporarily store some of the energy of the mass and change the direction of motion of the mass from horizontal to vertical. A nondimensional framework is used to study this problem for a point mass, first with a linear spring and then with a nonlinear spring that is an elastica. Solutions to the problems with the linear spring and elastica show many similarities and some dissimilarities. The dynamics of the point mass and elastica resemble the mechanics of a pole-vault; and therefore, a nonconservative external torque is introduced to parallel the muscle work done by vaulters. For the nonconservative system, the problem is solved for complete transformation of the kinetic energy of the mass and the work done by the external torque into potential energy of the mass. The initial velocities for the two cases, with and without the nonconservative force, are quite similar; and therefore, the maximum potential energy of the mass is higher in the presence of the nonconservative force. A realistic dimensional example is considered; the solution to the problem, despite several simplifying assumptions, is found to be similar to data of elite pole vaulters presented in the literature.
Kinetic to Potential Energy Transformation Using a Spring as an Intermediary: Application to the Pole Vault Problem
Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Applied Mechanics. Manuscript received December 5, 2018; final manuscript received January 9, 2019; published online February 28, 2019. Assoc. Editor: George Haller.
Chau, S., and Mukherjee, R. (February 28, 2019). "Kinetic to Potential Energy Transformation Using a Spring as an Intermediary: Application to the Pole Vault Problem." ASME. J. Appl. Mech. May 2019; 86(5): 051001. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4042576
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