Work Energy Theorem.com

 

Warning, this website exposes the unknown flaws within the Work Energy Theorem.  This should make all visitors take pause and become very skeptical.  Oddly, this is desirable because a true skeptic is not only wary of new ideas and discoveries, he is also a bit suspicious of conventional wisdom.   The educated skeptic knows the past is riddled with instances when conventional wisdom was not all that wise.   A non-skeptic, but someone who fancies himself a true skeptic, assumes conventional wisdom is all that and a bag of chips; he isn't willing to look and so, cannot see proof even when it is the size of Texas.  Moreover, the non-skeptic believes a correction to the "known" laws of physics is impossible.  He forgets that corrections have happened many times in the past but believes they can no longer occur.   And while we do live in a world with tremendous technology, only a fool would believe all the errors of the past have been found. 

Please note, no one will be asked to take anything on faith.   If something does not seem right, check it out for yourself.  Do the math, do an experiment, and check the historical record.   All to often someone who says he is willing to look never does.  Before they start to examine some pretty remarkable evidence, they have already decided that there is nothing of value here.  That is not a proper scientific attitude; it is the attitude of a religious zealot.   A science is about looking, actually looking before drawing any conclusions.   In short, verify that data presented is or is not correct; don't assume that this revolutionary website is the misguided ravings of a lunatic.

 

The Work Energy Theorem is one of those things "everyone knows is true".  Beyond that and because, sadly, questioning things "everyone knows" is dangerous to a physicist's reputation, why should anyone take a second look at this theorem?  Well, there might be something untaught about it, and to illustrate this possibility, consider rocketry and then momentum.

Rocketry

RocketRocket scientists, the ones who actually work with rockets, never use kinetic energy in their calculations.  This is because if they use two identical rocket motors on two payloads of different mass, each rocket motor will change the kinetic energy of the payload by a different amount.  And it does not end there; if two identical rocket motors accelerate two identical payloads, the amount of chemical energy converted into kinetic will vary if the rockets begin at different velocities.  This leaves us with the question of why.  Shouldn't identical quantities of chemical energy transformed into kinetic energy translate to identical changes in kinetic energy? 

For those visitors who understand the mathematics of rockets, do the calculations.  See if the amount of chemical energy converted into mechanical varies as stated.  

Momentum

When a science teacher or physics professors teaches momentum, he or she will bring up the Law of Conservation of Momentum.   In short, if you have a closed system, the amount of momentum within it does not change regardless of what happens inside that system if nothing leaves or enters that system.   Interestingly, if we take it on faith that the kinetic energy formula is valid, momentum is not a conserved quantity in all circumstances; there is an exception and one that is astonishingly easy to demonstrate.   It is also impossible to refute but, it can be difficult to see when one is not a true skeptic and has a great deal of faith in conventional wisdom.

A Simple Experiment

Some physicists and others have on their desks a Newton’s Cradle.  When one of the balls is pulled back and released, it swings back, a collision takes place, and a different ball pops out the other side.  When this happens, a slight thermal increase within the balls occurs and a clicking sound is sure to manifest.  The clicking sound should suffice as auditory evidence for a slight reduction in the velocity of the ball leaving the cradle.  Velocity is also diminished due to the balls interaction with the air and the string suspending the balls but, that is not germane to this discussion.  The energy required to make the sound can only come from the kinetic energy of the moving ball and occurs due to a vibration in the balls.  If such a collision occurs in a vacuum, no sound would be possible but, the vibrations in the balls still occur.  And since it requires energy to make something vibrate, there must be a reduction in the amount of kinetic energy by an amount equal to the increase in the thermal energy of the balls.  If there is less kinetic energy, there must be a corresponding reduction in momentum since both momentum and kinetic energy use the exact same variables, albeit in slightly different ways.

Kinetic energy has ½mv2as its formula; it is a function of mass and velocity.  Momentum is also a function of mass and velocity; it is the product of mass and velocity mv; there are no other variables for either.  When the first ball strikes the others, it produces a clicking sound and a tiny bit of kinetic energy transforms into another form  thermal and accoustic.  This can only mean that the ball that leaves after the collision is traveling ever so much slower than the ball that was originally pulled back.  Instead of moving at velocity v that the original ball travelled at, the ball leaving the collision is moving at vz where v is slightly greater than vz ( v  >  vz ).

This means that the momentum in this closed system has changed  mv ≠ mvz.  In other words, the Law of Conservation of Momentum is not valid in this instance; it is only thought to be true because an authority  a physics instructor  said it was so.  The funny thing is that today's physics instructors are not the originators of this; they were taught by others who themselves were taught by their own teachers and so on down the line.  This is conventional wisdom not attributable to any living physicist, in other words.  It is also believed true for other reasons but, now is not the time to get into that; it will be covered at a future time.

Refuting the Challenge

An interesting idea could be used to invalidate the previous section; it could be suggested that momentum never truly vanishes because momentum at the macroscopic level (the momentum of the balls) merely transforms into momentum at the molecular level.  This idea is eerily similar to the concept of energy, is it not?  And taking this explanation one step further we find that it still does not prevent momentum from vanishing; the added "momentum" to the individual molecules eventually transforms into thermal radiation that eventually dissipates meaning that a small quantity of momentum will eventually vanish.

It is extremely noteworthy that, whenever momentum and elastic collisions are discussed in a classroom setting, the objects are “ideal” or “perfect”.  In other words, physics instructors use unreal objects that never heat up or deform.  And because no such objects actually exist, the Law of Conservation of Momentum is known not to be true but, no one has been courageous enough to say it until now. 

Something to Consider

Before going any further, answer the following five questions.  The answers are either yes or no.

  1. Without using mathematics, can you explain the differences between momentum and kinetic energy so that a layman can understand?

  2. Do you know the history of momentum; who formulated it, why, and how?

  3. Do you know what came first, the kinetic energy formula or the formula for work?

  4. Do you know why momentum cannot represent mechanical energy? 

  5. Do you know all about the first experiment that confirmed the Work Energy Theorem including the gross experimental error it contains?

If you answered "no" to any of the questions, your physics education is incomplete.  And if it is incomplete, that means you cannot know with absolute certainty that the Work Energy Theorem is or is not valid.

As taught, the Work Energy Theorem appears indisputable and yet, it has two demonstrable flaws.  One occurs when identical quantities of energy are used to accelerate two objects of differing mass.  The other occurs when accelerating two identical objects from differing initial velocities.  The Work Energy Theorem, in its current form, has been around for more than 150 years.  And in that time, other flaws have unknowingly and without fanfare crept into the Work Energy Theorem so as to hide these two flaws. 

The Next Step

The next page examines what occurs when electrical energy is converted into mechanical.  Click on this link to, " The Hidden Flaw " to bear witness to a fact physics instructors always overlook.

 

NOTE:  This website is under construction.  There will be more information in the next few weeks, all of which can be verified independently and add to the woes of the Work Energy Theorem.

For Comments, Questions, or to report any errors I may have made please email me at SurprisedOwl@gmail.com.