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You may have heard before that potential energy can be described as the amount of damage something can do. Mr. Powlin gave us the example last year of something with a greater mass or speed will do more 'damage'. It should be also noted that the area which is affected by the force will determine the 'damage' and the duration of the impact. Also how the force is distributed into the object receiving the force. 

For example, a skier who weighs 150 lbs going 20 mph can lessen the damage of a fall by landing over a large surface area by spreading out, landing on his side rather than on an outstretched arm.

Injury (damage) can also be prevented by channeling the impact through a medium which will disperse the force (a helmet).

By going to the top of that hill you are increasing your potential energy, aka, increasing your potential for damage/injury, but that can be watered down by reducing speed, wearing a helmet, and of course: falling correctly.


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