Potential, or stored, energy is a very vital part of bungee jumping. An unstretched bungee cord has a large amout of potential energy. By standing on a high platform, the jumper's potential energy s also increased. This is called
gravitational potential energy (energy of position). In this scenario,
PE(g) = mgh, where h is
the vertical distance
The energy of the cord is elastic potential energy.
In Hooke's Law, elastic potential energy is defined as:
PE(e) = (1/2)k x^2, where
k is the spring constant.
The spring constant (k) is the measure of the stiffness of a spring.
>stiffness = >k value
Note that the change in potential energy is equal to the work it takes the jumper to climb to the platform.
The total energy of the syste is the sum of the kinetic and potential energy. Energy is conserved.
In a jump, an elastic cord (level with the jumpers
center of mass) is attached to the platform and the jumper. Prior to the jump, the jumper has gravitational potential energy. The jumper proceeds downward until the maximum low point of the jump is reached. The gravitational potential energy has been converted to the elastic potential energy of the cord. Due to the fact that energy is conserved in a jump, the gravitational potential energy of the jumper will equal the elastic potential energy of the cord.