Hammering a Nail into a Board

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A hammer from height with mass 1 kg provides a force to hit a 2 cm nail into a wooden block with resistance . (The hammer and nail are not drawn to scale.)

Contributed by: Enrique Zeleny (May 2012)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



Work is defined as , where is the force (the weight of the hammer) and is the distance that an object moves; in this case, there are two relevant distances: the height of the hammer as it falls and the depth of the nail.

It's assumed that the wood is soft enough so that the nail completely penetrates the board; in real life, resistance is greater according to the type of wood, or whether the nail is driven perpendicularly to the grain of wood and other factors.

A fraction of the kinetic energy of the hammer is converted into heat and sound.

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