### Question

Although you've already posted a definition of 'horse power,' how can I more easily visualize what it means? Example, an engine has 100 horse power; can I equate that with 100 horses straining to pull a
heavy object a certain distance at a certain velocity?

Asked by: Greg Armbruster

### Answer

One horsepower provides the ability to do 550 ft-lbs of
work every second. 550 ft-lbs of work is any product of
force (in pounds) and distance (in feet) equaling that
number.

Applying 55 lbs of force through a distance of 10 feet,
for example, represents the same amount of work as 11 lbs.
of force applied through 50 feet. The force can be used
to lift objects against the pull of gravity, drag them
along the ground against frictional forces, accelerate
objects, etc.

A 100 HP motor would let you do 550 X 100 or 55,000 ft-lbs.
of work each second. It could, for example, lift 550 lbs.
100 feet in one second. To lift more weight at the same rate,
or the same weight more quickly, you would need more
horsepower.

Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A. Physics, Part-time Physics Instructor