Work is closely related to energy. The work-energy principle states that an increase in the kinetic energy of a rigid body is caused by an equal amount of positive work done on the body by the resultant force acting on that body. Conversely, a decrease in kinetic energy is caused by an equal amount of negative work done by the resultant force.

From Newton's second law, it can be shown that work on a free (no fields), rigid (no internal degrees of freedom) body, is equal to the change in kinetic energy of the velocity and rotation of that body,

W = Δ K E . {\displaystyle W=\Delta KE.}

The work of forces generated by a potential function is known as potential energy and the forces are said to be conservative. Therefore, work on an object that is merely displaced in a conservative force field, without change in velocity or rotation, is equal to minus the change of potential energy of the object,

W = − Δ P E . {\displaystyle W=-\Delta PE.}

These formulas demonstrate that work is the energy associated with the action of a force, so work subsequently possesses the physical dimensions, and units, of energy. The work/energy principles discussed here are identical to Electric work/energy principles.

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