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A field of force in which the work done on a particle in moving it from one point to another depends only on the particle's initial and final positions.



Related Terms

COULOMB POTENTIAL

A scalar point function equal to the work per unit charge done against the Coulomb force in transferring a particle bearing an infinitesimal positive charge from infinity to a point in the field of a specific charge distribution.

GRAVITATIONAL POTENTIAL

The amount of work which must be done against gravitational forces to move a particle of unit mass to a specified position from a reference position, usually a point at infinity.

CENTER OF ATTRACTION

A point toward which a force on a body or particle (such as gravitational or electrostatic force) is always directed; the magnitude of the force depends only on the distance of the body or particle from this point.

CASTIGLIANO'S THEOREM

The theorem that the component in a given direction of the deflection of the point of application of an external force on an elastic body is equal to the partial derivative of the work of deformation with respect to the component of the force in that direction. Also known as Castigliano's principle.

FOOT-POUNDAL

  1. A unit of energy or work in the English absolute system, equal to the work done by a force of magnitude 1 poundal when the point at which the force is applied is displaced 1 foot in the direction of the force; equal to approximately 0.04214011 joule. Abbreviated ft-pdl. 2. A unit of torque in the English absolute system, equal to the torque produced by a force of magnitude 1 poundal acting at a perpendicular distance of 1 foot from the axis of rotation. Also known as poundal-foot. Abbreviated pdl-ft.

METER-KILOGRAM

  1. A unit of energy or work in a meter-kilogram-second gravitational system, equal to the work done by a kilogramforce when the point at which the force is applied is displaced 1 meter in the direction of the force; equal to 9.80665 joules. Abbreviated m-kgf. Also known as meter kilogram-force. 2. A unit of torque, equal to the torque produced by a kilogram-force acting at a perpendicular distance of 1 meter from the axis of rotation.

FOOT-POUND

  1. Unit of energy or work in the English gravitational system, equal to the work done by 1 pound of force when the point at which the force is applied is displaced 1 foot in the direction of the force; equal to approximately 1.355818 joule. Abbreviated ft-lb; ft-lbf. 2. Unit of torque in the English gravitational system, equal to the torque produced by 1 pound of force acting at a perpendicular distance of 1 foot from an axis of rotation. Also known as pound-foot. Abbreviated lbf-ft.

EXPORT RATE

A rate published on traffic moving from an interior point to a port for transshipment to a foreign country.

ELECTRIC POTENTIAL

The work which must be done against electric forces to bring a unit charge from a reference point to the point in question; the reference point is located at an infinite distance, or, for practical purposes, at the surface of the earth or some other large conductor. Also known as electrostatic potential; potential. Abbreviated V.

FLOW STATE

The state of a granular cargo when it is saturated with moisture to the point at which it will behave as a liquid when external force such as a ship's motion is applied.

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