energy Energy, in physics, the capacity for doing work. It may exist in potential, kinetic, thermal, electrical, chemical, nuclear, or other various forms. It is measured using the unit joules

all energy is divided into two different types

potential energy or kinetic energy

potential energy is energy that is stored in an object

three types of potential energy

gravitational potential energy

elastic potential energy

chemical potential energy


If an object is at equilibrium, then the forces are balanced. Balanced is the key word that is used to describe equilibrium situations. Thus, the net force is zero and the acceleration is 0 m/s/s.

gravitational potential energy

potential energy stored due to an object’s vertical position

the amount of gravitational potential energy depends on the height and mass of the object

P.E. gravity = (mass) (height) (g)

elastic potential energy

potential energy due to compression or expansion of an elastic object

P.E. spring = (0.5) (k) (x)squared

where k = spring constant

x = amount of compression (relative to equilibrium position)

chemical potential energy

potential energy stored within the compounds or chemical bonds of an object


When a force acts upon an object to cause a movement or displacement of the object, it is said that work was done upon the object. There are three key ingredients to work - force, movement, and cause. In order for a force to qualify as having done work on an object, there must be a movement and the force must cause the movement. It is measured in joules.

kinetic energy

Kinetic energy is the energy of motion.

An object that has motion - whether it is vertical or horizontal motion - has kinetic energy.

kinetic energy

The amount of kinetic energy that an object has depends upon two variables: the mass (m) of the object and the speed (v) of the object. The following equation is used to represent the kinetic energy (KE) of an object.

KE = 0.5 • m • v2 (where m = mass of object and v = speed of object)

When an object falls, its gravitational potential energy is changed to kinetic energy.

A roller coaster ride is a thrilling experience which involves a wealth of physics. Part of the physics of a roller coaster is the physics of work and energy. The ride often begins as a chain and motor (or other mechanical device) exerts a force on the train of cars to lift the train to the top of a vary tall hill. Once the cars are lifted to the top of the hill, gravity takes over and the remainder of the ride is an experience in energy transformation.

At the top of the hill, the cars possess a large quantity of potential energy. Potential energy - the energy of vertical position - is dependent upon the mass of the object and the height of the object. The car's large quantity of potential energy is due to the fact that they are elevated to a large height above the ground. As the cars descend the first drop they lose much of this potential energy in accord with their loss of height. The cars subsequently gain kinetic energy. Kinetic energy - the energy of motion - is dependent upon the mass of the object and the speed of the object.

forms of energy

Energy has a number of different forms, all of which measure the ability of an object or system to do work on another object or system.

In other words, there are different ways that an object or a system can possess energy.


  • everything has energy
  • all energy can be traced back to the sun
  • energy is the ability to cause change
  • it’s not created or destroyed
  • there are seven forms of energy

seven forms of energy

  • mechanical
  • radiant
  • sound
  • chemical
  • heat
  • electrical
  • nuclear

mechanical energy

Mechanical energy is the sum of kinetic and potential energy in an object that is used to do work. In other words, it is energy in an object due to its motion or position, or both.

mechanical energy

  • Energy transferred by force which moves matter or causes it to change.
  • Example: Wind/Windmill
  • Air moves past windmill blades and causes them to turn.

radiant energy

Radiant energy is the energy of electromagnetic waves. It is a form of energy that can travel through space. For example, we receive the heat from the sun, which is located very far from the earth via radiation.

radiant energy

  • light is an example of radiant energy
  • the Sun is an example of radiant energy

sound energy

Sound energy is a form of energy that is associated with vibrations of matter. It is a type of mechanical wave which means it requires an object to travel through. This object includes air and water. Sound originates from the vibrations that result after an object applies a force to another object.

sound energy

  • sound energy is a type of mechanical energy
  • vibration or wave that moves thru matter
  • drums, cymbals, triangles, etc. are examples of sound energy

chemical energy

Chemical Energy is energy stored in the bonds of chemical compounds (atoms and molecules). It is released in a chemical reaction, often producing heat as a by-product.

chemical energy

  • batteries, biomass, petroleum, natural gas, and coal are examples of stored chemical energy

heat energy

Heat energy is the result of the movement of tiny particles called atoms molecules or ions in solids, liquids and gases. Heat energy can be transferred from one object to another, and the transfer or flow due to the difference in temperature between the two objects is called heat.

heat energy

  • all matter has heat
  • heat of the object is determined by the movement of the object’s molecules
  • fast moving molecules = hot
  • slow moving molecules = cold

electrical energy

Electric energy is the energy created by electrons moving through an electrical conductor. The world is made of matter. All matter contains atoms that contain electrons that are always moving. When electrons are forced down a conductive path, such as a wire, the movement produces electricity, or electric energy.

electrical energy

  • lights, appliance, air/heat units, etc. are examples of electrical energy

nuclear energy

Nuclear Energy is the energy released during nuclear fission or fusion, especially when used to generate electricity.

transformation of energy

Energy transformation, also termed energy conversion, is the process of changing energy from one of its forms into another. In physics, energy is a quantity that provides the capacity to perform many actions—some as simple as lifting or warming an object.

principle of conservation of energy

The principle of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, i.e. in an isolated system, the total energy before transformation is equal to the total energy transformation.

examples of the principle of the conservation of energy

  • In an electric bulb, electrical energy is converted into light and heat energy.
  • In a microphone, sound energy is converted into electrical energy, while in a loudspeaker electrical energy is converted into sound energy.
  • In a hydroelectric plant,, water falls from a height on to a turbine causing it to turn. The turbine turns a coil in a magnetic field, thereby generating a electric current. Therefore, potential energy of the water is converted into kinetic energy of the turbine, which is converted into electrical energy.
Created By
Athanasios Bayiates


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