NONMECHANICAL FORMS OF WORK
The treatment in Section 4–3 represents a fairly comprehensive coverage of mechanical forms of work. But some work modes encountered in practice are not mechanical in nature. However, these nonmechanical work modes can be treated in a similar manner by identifying a generalized force F acting in the direction of a generalized displacement x. Then the work associated with the differential displacement under the influence of this force is determined from dW = F dx.
Some examples of nonmechanical work modes are electrical work, where the generalized force is the voltage (the electrical potential) and the generalized displacement is the electrical charge, as discussed earlier; magnetic work, where the generalized force is the magnetic field strength and the generalized displacement is the total magnetic dipole moment; and electrical polarization work, where the generalized force is the electric field strength and the generalized displacement is the polarization of the medium (the sum of the electric dipole rotation moments of the molecules). Detailed consideration of these and other nonmechanical work modes can be found in specialized books on these topics.
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