By Benjamin Crowell

ISBN-10: 0970467028

ISBN-13: 9780970467027

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The reason is that there is a repulsive electrical force between nuclei. When two nuclei are close together, the electrical forces are typically about a million times weaker than the nuclear forces, but the nuclear forces fall off much more quickly with distance than the electrical forces, so the electrical force is the dominant one at longer ranges. The sun is a very hot gas, so the random motion of its atoms is extremely rapid, and a collision between two atoms is sometimes violent enough to overcome this initial electrical repulsion.

We can now calculate the energy released in this reaction by using the area under the graph to determine the amount of mechanical work done by the carbon nucleus on the proton. 7 × 10−14 J . This may not seem like much, but remember that this is only a reaction between the nuclei of two out of the zillions of atoms in the sun. For comparison, a typical chemical reaction between two atoms might transform on the order of 10−19 J of electrical potential energy into heat — 100,000 times less energy!

The kinetic energy of the car is transmitted through the brakes and accepted by the brake shoes in the form of heat. The energy cannot be recovered. Electric cars, however, are designed to use regenerative braking. The brakes don’t use friction at all. They are electrical, and when you step on the brake, the negative work done by the brakes means they accept the energy and put it in the battery for later use. This is one of the reasons why an electric car is far better for the environment than a gas car, even if the ultimate source of the electrical energy happens to be the burning of oil in the electric company’s plant.

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2-Conservation Laws by Benjamin Crowell


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