Potential & Kinetic Energy The Nature of Energy

ENERGY - the ability to cause change

Forms of energy:

Electrical: energy created by electrons moving through an electrical conductor

Chemical: 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 (exothermic reaction). Batteries, biomass, petroleum, natural gas, and coal are examples of stored chemical energy.

Thermal: energy that comes from heat. This heat is generated by the movement of tiny particles within an object. The faster these particles move, the more heat is generated.

Radiant: energy of electromagnetic waves. The term is most commonly used in the fields of radiometry, solar energy, heating and lighting, but is also used less frequently in other fields (such as telecommunications).

Sound Energy - form of energy that is associated with vibrations of matter

Kinetic Energy - Energy in the form of motion

Potential Energy - Energy that is stored

Kinetic Energy depends on mass & velocity of the moving object

Types of Potential Energy:

Elastic Potential Energy - energy stored by something that can stretch or compress, like a rubber band or spring

Chemical Potential Energy - energy stored in chemical bonds, like in dynamite or in a glass of milk

Gravitational Potential Energy - anything that can fall has stored GPE, like a coyote on a ledge

Mechanical Energy - total amount of kinetic energy and potential energy in a system

Mechanical Energy = PE + KE


Energy can be transformed from one form to another

Law of Conservation of Energy - Energy may change from but it cannot be created or destroyed under ordinary conditions.

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