Is gravity endless energy?


You need energy to produce a force that compensates gravity. So if you apply that force for a huge amount of time, will gravity ever be depleted?

In: 39

You do not need energy to create a force. Energy is expended (or reversely: freed) when an object is moved by a force for a distance. A stationary object with forces acting upon it is energy-neutral.

You don’t need energy to compensate gravity. If a rock lies on a table it doesn’t consume any energy to stay up there. Only moving further up takes energy.

You’re referring to gravitational potential energy, which is made from the kinetic energy used to move something into a useful position, it’s not infinite for the same reason that a rubber band snapping back isn’t infinite, eventually you will get to a resting position.

You do not need energy to produce a force that compensates gravity. A table does not use energy when it prevents your dinner plate from crashing onto the floor. Energy is force times distance. So you need energy to lift something up against gravity because you are moving it across a certain distance. But you do not need energy to keep something stationary, even if you need to use a force to do this.

The confusion comes from peoples own experiences. Even though you do not put energy into holding on to something your muscles need energy in order to generate that static force. This energy does not get converted into the object you are holding but end up as heat in the muscles.

Applying a force only requires energy if that force moves something (or at least pushes along the way something is moving). Think of setting a mousetrap. The spring will be applying a force on the bar, but until the trap is triggered, the bar will stay held in place. It can stay like that forever; there’s no battery to recharge or key to wind until the bar is actually released. Then, since the spring is *moving* the bar, the spring’s energy is released.

Same thing with gravity. Gravity might be pulling on a rock, but unless the rock is moving up or down, no energy is being stored or released by gravity.