Work, Energy, and Power

Each list begins with basic conceptual vocabulary you need to know for MCAT questions and proceeds to advanced terms that might appear in context in MCAT passages. The terms are links to Wikipedia articles.
In physics and other sciences, energy is defined as a work one system does (or can do) on another system
Kinetic energy
The kinetic energy of an object is the extra energy which it possesses due to its motion, defined as the work needed to accelerate the body from rest to its current speed.
Potential energy
Potential energy is energy stored within a physical system.
Mechanical work
Mechanical work is the amount of energy transferred by a force.
Conservation of energy
The conservation of energy states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant, although it may change forms.
Power is the rate at which work is performed or energy is transmitted. It is the amount of energy required or expended for a given unit of time.
The joule is the SI unit of energy.
The watt is the SI derived unit of power, equal to one joule per second.
Simple machine
A simple machine is any device that only requires the application of a single force to work.
Inclined plane
The inclined plane is a flat surface whose endpoints are at different heights.
A lever is a rigid object that is used with an appropriate fulcrum or pivot point to multiply the mechanical force that can be applied to another object.
A pulley is a wheel with a groove along its edge for holding a rope or cable or belt.
Mechanical advantage
Mechanical advantage is the factor by which a mechanism multiplies the force put into it.
The electronvolt is a unit of energy often used also in theoretical physics as a unit of mass. It is the amount of kinetic energy gained by a single unbound electron when it passes through an electrostatic potential difference of one volt, in vacuo.
Conservative force
A conservative force is a force that does zero net work on a particle that travels along any closed path in an isolated system.
Elastic energy
The elastic energy is the energy which causes or is released by the physical distortion of a solid or a fluid.
Gravitational binding energy
The gravitational binding energy of an object consisting of loose material, held together by gravity alone, is the amount of energy required to pull all of the material apart, to infinity.
A calorie is a unit of measurement for energy equal to the amount of heat required to raise a gram of water one degree celsius. In most fields, it has been replaced by the joule.
The foot-pound force is an English unit of work or energy. It is the amount of energy expended when a force of one pound acts through a distance of 1 foot along the direction of the force.
British thermal unit
The British thermal unit is a unit of energy used globally in the power, steam generation and heating and air conditioning industries.
Mechanical efficiency
Mechanical efficiency is the effectiveness of a machine and is defined as the ratio of mechanical advantage to velocity ratio.
An erg is the unit of energy and mechanical work in the centimetre-gram-second (CGS) system of units.

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