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ERIC Number: EJ892039
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Energy Ambiguity and the Inductive Rail Oscillator
Hecking, Patrick C.
Physics Teacher, v45 n7 p445-449 Oct 2007
In electric or mixed electric-mechanic systems, the distinction between potential and kinetic energy is not as clear as in purely mechanical systems. A solution for the motion of an inductively loaded rail generator is presented. In this case, the magnetic field energy (1/2)Li[superscript 2] can be written "formally" in terms of a potential energy, while physically it is something different. The analogy between mechanical and electric oscillators has limits, and harmonic oscillators can operate without potential energy, both of which must be pointed out by physics teachers.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A