3.b.3. Mechanical energy in Physics

In Modern Physics, definition of mechanical energy is the sum of kinetic and potential energies related to a certain mass in a gravitational field. In absence of other forces, mechanical energy of a body in orbit remains constant.

Mechanical energy is an abstract concept or a sum of energies of a mathematical nature that connects causes of inertial motion with motion due to force of gravity.

The reason why mechanical energy is constant is conventional and derived from the Principle of Energy Conservation. If it is a closed system and only two energy manifestations are considered, the sum of both of them should be constant.

Newton’s theory of gravitation explained planet orbits and outspreads the principle of equality between inertial and gravitational mass. In both cases, mass was a constant of proportionality between the applied force and the resulting acceleration of bodies. The acceleration of gravity follows the inverse-squares law.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity keeps the principle of equality between inertial and gravitational mass, but still does not know what mass is beyond a constant of proportionality. Mass does not increase with relative speed thanks to the mathematical model used, but it is multiplied by γ –in fact, as if it would increase–, and such increase makes necessary a higher force with higher speed in order to generate the same acceleration.

In Einstein’s General Relativity mechanical energy is higher than in Newton’s Classical Physics, since kinetic energy of a body in a vertical free fall will be higher because mass increases with velocity.

However, according to observations from Astronomy, gravitational mass seems to have a different behavior from inertial mass, and, as an increase in mass with velocity does not alter the gravitational force by unit of mass, Einstein’s General Relativity needs to distort space to adjust orbits of the planets and their anomalous precession regarding Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.

Mechanical energy Space Shuttle Discovery
(Public domain image)
Space Shuttle Discovery

An additional problem generated by General Relativity is that, as space distortion follows the same law of the inverse-squares, whole gravity becomes a geometrical effect of the mathematical continuum and intuitive concepts of physical reality blur even more.

Since laws governing elasticity of the global ether are present in all type of physical relations –like the inverse-squares law–, mathematical calculus of imaginary models on many occasions are useful with physical interpretations quite distant from reality. This topic even could seem so, so easy that is easy to get wrong.

For Global Mechanics, mass consists of loops of the filaments of gravitational, kinetic or global aether. Thus, principle of equality between inertial and gravitational mass, besides being puzzling, it is not necessary anymore, because physical reality defines mass and not its behavior.

In Global Physics, concept of kinetic energy is a property of mass associated with tendency to keep its state of movement, which implies a higher mass resonance to conserve synchronization with vibration of the global or kinetic ether.

Definition of potential energy is a property of the mass for being in a given point of the reticular structure of matter –global or gravitational ether– with radial symmetry.

The Law of Global Gravity provides a second modification or nuance to Newton’s Second Law, Law of Force or Fundamental Law of Dynamics. If Einstein introduced an intrinsic variation of mass with velocity and the corresponding increase in gravitational attraction plus the space-time distortion, the Law of Global Gravity adds an additional variation in gravity force due to velocity, which is different from the correspondent mass increment, even though both variations are identical in quantitative terms.

In this case, an increase in gravitational acceleration, which would depend on kinetic energy –in particular, on the relation between kinetic and global mass–, as observed in the Law of Global Gravity. This modification of Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation explains anomalous precession of orbits of the planets without altering space and time.

As a result, new increase in the force of gravity will generate higher acceleration, higher speed and a higher kinetic energy.

In other words, if kinetic energy is a component of gravitational acceleration, gravitational potential energy will change. That is, if gravitational force increases with motion, the sum of all forces along the trajectory of the body’s free fall, which constitute its gravitational potential energy, will be also higher.

In short, mechanical energy is higher in the Law of Global Gravity than in Einstein’s General Relativity, which, in turn, is higher than in Newton’s Classical Physics.

Nevertheless, it is required to make two conceptual clarifications regarding previous paragraph.

  • We cannot imagine how distortion of space-time affects potential energy in General Relativity.

  • Mechanical energy in Global Physics depends on the scalar speed of the mass relative to kinetic ether and vector velocity relative to gravity field; accordingly, it is not constant.

Both kinetic and gravitational potential energies are studied in the book Physics and Global Dynamics from the viewpoint of the mechanisms of movement with contribution of the Law of Global Gravity.


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