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How to Calculate Work Energy and Power

How to Calculate Work Energy and Power

Here’s a step-by-step guide in tabular form on how to calculate work, energy, and power:

1Measure the force applied (F).
2Measure the displacement (d) in the direction
of the force.
3Calculate work done (W):W = F ⋅ d
4Measure the mass (m) of an object.
5Measure its initial velocity (v0).
6Measure its final velocity ((v)).
7Calculate kinetic energy (KE):KE = (1/2)m(v2 – v02)
8Calculate potential energy (PE) in a( PE = mgh )
gravitational field:
where ( g ) is the acceleration due to
gravity, and ( h ) is the height.
9Calculate power (P):P = W/Δt
where (Δt) is the time interval.


  • Work is measured in joules (J).
  • Kinetic and potential energy are also measured in joules.
  • Power is measured in watts (W).

Understanding these concepts is essential in the field of physics and has practical applications in various industries. Whether you are a student studying physics or simply curious about the principles behind work, energy, and power, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how to calculate these fundamental concepts.

Formula Involved

Calculating Work, Energy, and Power:

Work Energy and Power
Work Energy and Power

Work (W):

  • Formula: W = Force×Distance×cosθ
  • Identify the force applied in the direction of motion.
  • Determine the distance over which the force is applied.
  • Consider the angle (θ) between the force and direction of motion.
  • Calculate work using the formula.

Kinetic Energy (KE):

  • Formula: KE = (1​/2)×Mass×(Velocity)2
  • Identify the mass of the object.
  • Determine its velocity.
  • Square the velocity, multiply by mass, and apply the factor (\frac{1}{2}).

Potential Energy (PE):

  • Formula: PE = Mass×Gravity×Height
  • Identify the mass of the object.
  • Determine the gravitational acceleration (approximately 9.8 m/s²).
  • Specify the height above a reference point.

Total Mechanical Energy (TME):

  • Formula: TME=KE+PE
  • Calculate kinetic and potential energy separately.
  • Sum the two energies to find total mechanical energy.

Power (P):

  • Formula: P=Work/Time​
  • Determine the amount of work done.
  • Identify the time taken to do the work.
  • Divide work by time to calculate power.

Methodology and Explanation

To calculate work, energy, and power, we will follow a four-step methodology. The first step involves gathering the necessary data from the given problem. The second step focuses on identifying the unknown variables or values we need to find.

The third step involves using the appropriate formula or equation to solve the problem. Finally, in the fourth step, we substitute the given data into the formula and perform the necessary calculations to find the solution.

Let’s dive into each step in more detail.

Step 1: Data

In this step, we gather the available information provided in the problem. This includes values such as the force applied, distance travelled, and any other relevant measurements. It is crucial to carefully read the problem and identify the data that is available to us.

Step 2: Unknown

After collecting the data, we need to determine the unknown variables or values that we are trying to find. This could be the work done, the amount of energy transferred, or the power generated. Identifying the unknowns helps us understand what we need to calculate in order to solve the problem.

Step 3: Formula

Once we have the data and know what we are trying to find, we can proceed to the next step, which involves using the appropriate formula or equation. Different situations require different formulas, depending on the variables involved. We will explore some of these formulas in the following sections.

Work done formula: The formula for calculating work is Work done (w) = Force (f) x distance (d)

Energy Formula: The formula for calculating energy depends on the potential energy of kinetic energy.

To calculate Potential energy, we apply the potential energy formula which is P.E = mgh [where P.E = potential energy, m = mass, g = acceleration due to gravity, and h = height or distance]

While for calculating kinetic energy, we use the kinetic energy formula which is K.E = (1/2)mv2 [where K.E = kinetic energy, m = mass of the object, and v = speed]

Power Formula: The formula for calculating power is P = w / t [ where P = power, w = work done, and t = time]

Step 4: Solution

In the final step, we substitute the given data into the formula and perform the necessary calculations to find the solution. Paying attention to units and making sure they are consistent throughout the calculations is essential. By following these steps, we can successfully calculate work, energy, and power.

Solve Problems

Now that we understand the methodology for calculating work, energy, and power, let’s apply it to solve a few problems.

Problem 1:

A force of 50 newtons is applied to push a box a distance of 5 meters. Calculate the work done.


First Step: Data

  • Force (F) = 50 N
  • Distance (d) = 5 m

Second Step: Unknown

  • Work done (W)

Third Step: Formula
The formula to calculate work is:

Work (W) = Force (F) x Distance (d)

Step 4: Solution
Substituting the given values into the formula:

W = 50 N x 5 m W = 250 Joules

Therefore, the work done is 250 Joules.

Problem 2:

A car with a mass of 1000 kilograms accelerates from rest to a velocity of 20 meters per second in 10 seconds. Calculate the average power generated during this time.


First Step: Data

  • Mass (m) = 1000 kg
  • Initial velocity (u) = 0 m/s
  • Final velocity (v) = 20 m/s
  • Time (t) = 10 s

Second Step: Unknown

  • Average power (P)

Third Step: Formula
The formula to calculate average power is given by:

Average Power (P) = Work (W) / Time (t)

Step 4: Solution
To calculate the work done, we first need to find the force exerted by the car. We can easily determine the force using Newton’s second law of motion:

Force (F) = Mass (m) x Acceleration (a)

Since the car starts from rest and reaches a final velocity of 20 m/s in 10 seconds, we can calculate the acceleration as:

Acceleration (a) = (Final Velocity – Initial Velocity) / Time = (20 m/s – 0 m/s) / 10 s = 2 m/s2

Substituting the values into the formula:

Force (F) = 1000 kg x 2 m/s2 = 2000 N

Now, we can calculate the work done by the car:

Work (W) = Force (F) x Distance (d)

Since the car starts from rest, we can also find the distance using the equation of motion:

Distance (d) = (Initial Velocity + Final Velocity) / 2 x Time = (0 m/s + 20 m/s) / 2 x 10 s = 100 m

Substituting the values into the formula:

Work (W) = 2000 N x 100 m = 200,000 Joules

Finally, we can calculate the average power:

Average Power (P) = Work (W) / Time (t) = 200,000 Joules / 10 s = 20,000 Watts

Therefore, the average power generated during this time is 20,000 Watts.


In this article, we explored how to calculate work, energy, and power. We followed a four-step methodology, which included gathering the data, identifying the unknowns, using the appropriate formulas, and finding the solution. By applying this methodology to various problems, we were able to calculate work, energy, and power in different scenarios.

Understanding these concepts and their calculations is crucial for anyone studying physics or working in fields where these principles are applied.


The methodology presented in this article provides a clear and systematic approach to calculating work, energy, and power. By following the step-by-step process, readers can easily apply the concepts to solve problems in their studies or professional careers.

The examples provided demonstrate the practical application of the methodology and help solidify the understanding of these physics principles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is work in physics?

A: In physics, work is defined as the transfer of energy that occurs when a force is applied to an object and it moves in the direction of the force. It is calculated by multiplying the magnitude of the force by the displacement of the object.

Q: What is energy?

A: Energy is a fundamental concept in physics that represents the ability to do work or cause a change in a system. It exists in various forms such as kinetic energy, potential energy, thermal energy, and more.

Q: How is power related to work and energy?

A: Power is the rate at which work is done or energy is transferred. It measures how quickly energy is used or produced. Power is calculated by dividing the work done or energy transferred by the time taken.

Q: What are the units of work, energy, and power?

A: The SI unit for work, energy, and power is the Joule (J). However, power is also commonly expressed in Watts (W), where 1 Watt is equal to 1 Joule per second.

Q: Can you provide an example of calculating kinetic energy?

A: Certainly! The kinetic energy of an object can be calculated using the formula:

Kinetic Energy (KE) = 1/2 x Mass (m) x Velocity (v)2

For instance, if an object with a mass of 2 kilograms is moving with a velocity of 10 meters per second, the kinetic energy would be:

KE = 1/2 x 2 kg x (10 m/s)2 = 100 Joules

Q: What is the conservation of energy principle?

A: The conservation of energy principle states that energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be transformed from one form to another or transferred between objects. This principle is fundamental in understanding the behaviour of energy in various systems.


Now, it’s time for you to apply what you’ve learned. Try solving the following problems:

  1. A person lifts a 20-kilogram box to a height of 2 meters. Calculate the work done.
  2. A car with a mass of 1200 kilograms accelerates from 15 meters per second to 25 meters per second in 8 seconds. Calculate the average power generated during this time.
  3. An elevator lifts a load of 500 Newtons vertically for a distance of 15 meters. Calculate the work done.
  4. A machine exerts a force of 500 Newtons to move an object horizontally for a distance of 10 meters. Calculate the work done.
  5. A cyclist travels a distance of 5 kilometres in 20 minutes. Calculate the average power generated.

Now, let’s check the answers:

  1. Work done = 20 kg x 9.8 m/s2 x 2 m = 392 Joules
  2. Average power = Work done / Time taken = (1200 kg x (25 m/s)2 – 1200 kg x (15 m/s)2) / 8 s = 112,500 Watts
  3. Work done = 500 N x 15 m = 7,500 Joules
  4. Work done = 500 N x 10 m = 5,000 Joules
  5. Average power = Work done / Time taken = (5 km x 1000 m/km) / (20 min x 60 s/min) = 4.17 Watts

We hope you found this assignment helpful in reinforcing your understanding of work, energy, and power calculations.


In conclusion, calculating work, energy, and power involves following a systematic methodology that includes gathering data, identifying unknowns, using appropriate formulas, and finding solutions. By mastering these concepts and calculations, you can apply them to solve a wide range of physics problems.

Remember to pay attention to units and ensure consistency throughout your calculations. Work, energy, and power are fundamental concepts that play a vital role in our understanding of the physical world. So, keep practising and exploring the fascinating world of physics!

I hope this article provides you with all the information you are looking for on how to calculate work energy and power. Feel free to contact us for more information.

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