Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson will explain the concept of work, and show that it can be calculated using force and distance.

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Introduction to Psychology

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Work is being done when a force is exerted on an object that causes the object to move.  When you lift a book off the ground you are doing work on the book.  In order for something to be considered work, the object where force is being applied must move a distance in the same direction the force is exerted.


If you were to hold a book in your arms, no work is being done.  Work requires movement of an object.



The tangerine man did work when he pushed a giant coffee cup to his office.  The object must move in the direction that the force is being exerted.


Work can be calculated by using its relationship to force and distance.


Work = Force * Distance


The SI unit for work is the joule (J).


If the tangerine man exerted a force of 40N and the coffee cup moved a distance of 10m, you could set up the problem using the equation for measuring work.


Force = 40N

Distance = 10m


Work = Force * Distance

Work = 40N * 10m

Work = 400 Joules


The amount of work the tangerine man did was 400 Joules.