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Work is said to be done when a force moves an object through a distance.

If we want to quantify (measure it or put a figure on) the amount of work done, we must know the magnitude (size) of the force applied, and the distance the object was moved.

Work done is the product of the force applied to do the work and the distance that we move the object.

In other words, work done is force applied multiplied by the distance moved.

Work Done = Force Applied X Distance Moved

Work Done = N x m = Nm

When carrying out calculations of this nature, we must be careful to use base and/or base derived units, in this case, the metre for distance and the Newton for force.

For example, if the force applied was 20 Newtons, and the distance moved was 1 metre, then the work done is calculated by multiplying the force by the distance.

Don't forget, as well as work being done in a straight line, work can also be done in rotation. We have a special word to describe this type of work done in rotation: torque.

If we time the rate at which this work is done, then we are measuring the power being expended:

Power = Work Done per second, or Nm/s, or watts (W)

» Course Glossary

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Although the term 'work' is commonly and loosely used in everyday language, work is an engineering term with a specific meaning.

Work is said to be done when a force moves an object through a distance.

As force is measured in newtons, N, and distance is measured in metres, m, work is measured in Nm.

Work done = force x distance
Work done = N x m = Nm

» Course Glossary

Keyword(s):
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Work is said to be done when a force moves an object through a distance.

Force is measured in newtons, N, and distance is measured in metres, m, so work is measured in Nxm = Nm

» Course Glossary

Keyword(s):