# 6 Actual Conservative Force Examples: Understanding the Fundamental Concepts

A force is said to be conservative if the work done by the force on an object depends on the initial and final positions of that object and is independent of the path taken between the two positions. In addition, the word conservative also implies that these type of forces strictly follows the law of conservation of energy. In other words, the total energy of the system must remain conserved in any frame of reference.

These forces play a significant role in the field of physics, providing valuable insights into the nature of energy and motion. In fact, with an actual understanding of conservative forces, scientists and engineers can comprehend as well as analyze various concepts and behavior of different types of mechanical systems.

In this exclusive article, we will explore 6 conservative force examples and will also shed light on their characteristics, and significance in various scientific disciplines. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of conservative forces!

## 6 Actual Conservative Force Examples: Understanding the Fundamental Concepts

• Gravitational Force
• Elastic Force
• Coulomb Force
• Restoring force
• Tension Force
• Centripetal Force

### Gravitational Force

The very first one in my list of 6 actual conservative force examples is the gravitational force. The force of gravity arises due to the mass of objects causing them to attract each other. These forces are responsible for various phenomena, such as the motion of celestial bodies and the free fall of objects near the Earth’s surface.

Gravitational forces are independent of the path and are associated with the conservation of potential energy function. The gravitational potential energy between two objects decreases as they move closer together and increases as they move farther apart. Gravity works when an object moves vertically converting potential energy into kinetic energy and vice versa.

### Elastic Force

Elastic Force, also known as Hooke’s Law arises due to the deformation or stretching of an elastic object, such as a spring or a rubber band. Just because elastic forces are independent of the path and they strictly follow conservational laws, these forces qualify as conservative forces.

When an elastic object such as a spring is stretched or compressed, the work done by the spring only depends on the initial and final positions of the object and is unaffected by the specific path taken between those positions.

During this two-and-forth motion of stretching and compression, the mechanical energy of the system is totally conserved. For example, when the spring is stretched, the potential energy stored in the spring increases while kinetic energy decreases, keeping the total energy conserved.

### Coulomb Force

Coulomb forces, also known as electrostatic forces, are indeed conservative in nature. These forces strictly follow Coulomb’s law which describes the interaction between charged particles.

Coulomb forces are also path-independent because the work done by Coulomb forces only depends on the initial and final positions of the charged particles and is unaffected by the specific path taken between those positions.

These forces also depend on the charge and separation of the particles. Due to the separation of particles, the potential energy may change, but the total mechanical energy (sum of potential and kinetic energy) remains constant, provided no external forces are acting on the system.

### Restoring Force

The restoring force is a conservative force that acts to bring an object back to its equilibrium position when it is displaced. Therefore, making it path independent and strict followers of conservational laws. The work done by a restoring force only depends on the initial and final positions of the object and is unaffected by the specific path taken between those positions.

In a conservative force field, the total mechanical energy, which is the sum of kinetic and potential energy, is conserved. In other words, as the object oscillates or returns to its equilibrium position, the potential energy may change, but the total mechanical energy (sum of potential and kinetic energy) remains constant, provided no external forces, such as friction, act on the system.

### Tension Force

Tension force is one of the typical types of conservative force that arises in objects such as cables, strings, or, ropes when they are in tension. They basically act to maintain the stability of an object. And, since it is a conservative force, they are also independent of the path taken and strictly follow the conservational laws of physics.

In the case of objects like string or ropes, the work done only depends on the initial and final positions of the object and is unaffected by the specific path taken between those positions.

As far as the law of conservation of energy is concerned, when an object connected by a string or rope moves under the influence of the tension force, the potential energy may change, but the total mechanical energy (sum of potential and kinetic energy) remains constant, provided no external non-conservative forces, such as friction, act on the system.

### Centripetal Force

Last but not least one in my list of 6 actual conservative forces in action is centripetal force. No wonder so many of you would argue that since this kind of force is path dependent, how it can be regarded as a conservative force? Well, I would argue that it can be both. Since centripetal force keeps an object moving in a circular path.

Therefore, it is a conservative force because the potential energy associated with it depends on the object’s distance from the center of rotation. This potential energy can be converted into kinetic energy as the object moves along its circular path.

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