Mechanical work is a useful form of mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy of a system changes, this total change we call is mechanical work. Mechanical energy is generally obtained from other energy sources. To create useful engineering systems, we are using different forms of mechanical work with different systems. So, here we explain the general types of mechanical work types. 

Mechanical work is very important for shafts.
A cardan shaft(Image Source: Wikimedia.).

Types of Mechanical Work

Firstly, we need to understand what is mechanical work. Similarly in physics and theory, we calculate the mechanical work by the multiplication of the total distance with the force to take this distance. There must be a system with clear boundaries. Furthermore, a force must act on this system to move this system in a direction. 

We consider positive mechanical work as the opposite direction of force to the current moving direction of the system. And we consider negative mechanical work as the force acting in the same direction of the movement. So, we are expecting the change of the system’s current situation by a force, for saying it is mechanical work. 

There are different types of mechanical work. 

Shaft Work

This is an also very important form of mechanical work. Shafts are very common applications in most mechanical and engineering systems. We design the shafts to transform mechanical energy into rotational mechanical work. In general, we apply torque to the shaft and the shaft starts to rotate because of this torque. Shaft transmits this torque as power. So this transmission creates mechanical work. We calculate the the mechanical work of the shaft with this formula; 

Shaft work calculation.

You can use the shaft work calculator that we prepared for our visitors. In this formula, ‘n’ is the rev/min, and ‘T’ is the torque that we apply to the shaft which has the unit of N.m or lb. ft.

Spring Work

Springs are the mechanical elements that are generally used in the mechanical design of different engineering systems. This type of mechanical work of the springs is also very important and it is calculated with the spring elastic energy formula. 

Spring work calculation.

In this formula, we are calculating the energy difference between the two states of the spring energy. This energy difference we call spring work

Here, ‘k’ is the elasticity constant of the spring which has the unit of N/m or lb/ft. ‘x1’ and ‘x2’ are the distances that the spring is squeezed. The unit of these distances is m or ft. 

This elasticity energy formula is also valid for the elastic solid bars. The only difference here is the calculation of the ‘k’ constant changes according to the shape of the solid shapes. But, the deformation must stay within the elastic limits.

You can use the spring work calculator that we prepared to use.

If a body accelerates, the speed of the body increases. This increment means the increment of the kinetic energy of the body. So, the total energy of the body increases. We call this increment as mechanical work. 

Also, the increment of the elevation of a body means the increment of the total energy of the body which means another form of mechanical work. The potential energy of the body increases and the force that increases this potential energy makes a mechanical work.

If we calculate the differences between the first and second kinetic and potential energies of a body, we call these differences mechanical work. 


So, we can summarize the general explanation of the mechanical work forms and types as above. 

Finally, do not forget to leave your comments and questions below about the mechanical work in physics and engineering.

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