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13 Different Types Of Energy And Their Definitions

Different Types Of Energy And Their Definitions with their forms

Energy is the ability to do work. There are two fundamental types of energy: potential and kinetic. The other manifestations of energy that we know are derived from these two types of energy.

On the other hand, according to the law of conservation of matter, potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy and vice versa. For example, when we swing we transform the kinetic energy of the movement into potential energy when we reach a maximum height.

Examples Of Types Of Energy

List Of Different Types Of Energy

  1. Kinetic Energy
  2. Potential Energy
  3. Thermal (Heat) Energy
  4. Chemical Energy
  5. Electrical Energy
  6. Nuclear Energy
  7. Electromagnetic (Radiant) Energy
  8. Sound Energy
  9. Hydropower (Hydraulic) Energy
  10. Wind Energy
  11. Solar Energy
  12. Gravitational Potential Energy = mgh
  13. Elastic potential energy
  14. Mechanical energy
  15. Magnetic energy

Kinetic Energy : Definition

Kinetic energy is energy in action, the energy associated with the movement of bodies. As such, it depends on the amount of mass and speed of the body, that is, the greater the mass and/or speed, the greater the kinetic energy.

The word “kinetics” derives from the Greek kinetikos which means “relating to moving.”

Potential energy : Definition

Potential energy is that energy associated with the position or condition of one body with respect to another. For example, when two magnets are separated, they have a potential energy relative to each other. Once they come together, their potential energy is zero.

Forms of kinetic energy and potential energy

Energy can take different forms, such as thermal, wind, solar and chemical energy, among others.

Gravitational potential energy

Definition of Gravitational potential energy

Gravitational energy is a type of potential energy that results from the distance or height that exists between two objects. This energy depends on the amount of mass ( m ), the separation distance ( h ) and the force of gravity ( g ):

Gravitational potential energy = mgh

The force of gravity on Earth g is actually the acceleration of freely falling objects due to gravity on the Earth’s surface. This value is 9.8 meters per second squared (m/s 2 ). That is, an object falls with an acceleration of 9.8 o (m/s 2 ). The force of gravity is different in other celestial bodies, for example, the g on the Moon is 1.62 m/s 2 , on Jupiter it is 24.8 m/s 2 and on Mars it is 3.7 m/s 2 .

Elastic potential energy

Definition of elastic potential energy

Elastic energy is a form of potential energy that results from the stretching of an elastic material. When springs are stretched they have potential energy, and when you release them that energy is transformed into kinetic energy.

Mechanical energy

Definition of mechanical energy and its formula

Mechanical energy results from the sum of kinetic and potential energy of a body. In this sense, mechanical energy takes into account the position of the object and its movement:

Mechanical E = Kinetic E + Potential E

For example: when we are on the diving board of the pool, we are at a certain height from the surface of the water, with a maximum of gravitational potential energy. When we jump, the distance between us and the pool decreases and our kinetic energy increases. In both cases, the mechanical energy is constant, but the kinetic and potential energies vary.

Chemical energy

Definition of Chemical Energy

Chemical energy is the potential energy stored in the bonds between atoms, as a result of the attractive forces between them. For example, the chemical energy of gasoline, a fossil fuel, is transformed into thermal energy that is used in vehicles to produce kinetic energy.

Photosynthetic plants transform solar energy into chemical energy, such as glucose and other carbohydrates. Heterotrophic living beings feed on other living beings to obtain chemical energy, and transform it into work and heat.

When energy is released in the form of heat in a chemical reaction, we are in the presence of an exothermic reaction; When a chemical reaction absorbs energy in the form of heat, we speak of an endothermic reaction.

Hydropower (Hydraulic) Energy

Hydropower is generated by the movement of water, typically in rivers or dams, which can be harnessed to produce electricity.

Electric potential energy 

Definition of Electric potential energy

Electrical potential energy exists when there are electrical forces between bodies or particles with an electrical charge; The proton-electron system has electrical potential energy.

Electric energy is essential in our daily lives. The operation of electrical, transportation, lighting and communications equipment depends on this form of energy.

During a storm, the top of the atmosphere becomes positively charged, while negative charges accumulate at the bottom. This generates a potential difference and an electric discharge.

Nuclear energy

Definition of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is a type of potential energy that is stored in the nucleus of atoms and that holds protons and neutrons together. In a nuclear reaction, an atom transforms into a completely different atom, and in this transformation a release of energy occurs.

Nuclear fission reactions used in nuclear reactors transform nuclear energy into thermal energy and then into electrical energy.

Magnetic energy

Definition of Magnetic Energy

Magnetic energy is a type of potential energy that results from an object’s ability to do work due to its position in a magnetic field. The magnetic field is the field or area that surrounds a magnet and where the magnetic forces act.

Electromagnetic (Radiant) Energy:

Electromagnetic energy includes various forms of light, such as visible light, radio waves, microwaves, and X-rays. It travels through space as waves and is produced by the motion of charged particles.

Thermal energy

Definition of thermal energy

In bodies with higher temperatures, molecules move faster and collide with each other. This means that the higher the temperature, the greater the kinetic energy, better known as thermal energy. We can say that thermal energy is the energy associated with the movement and collisions of the atoms and/or molecules that make up a body or object.

Thermal energy is also known as internal energy. The temperature of a body is nothing more than the average measure of the movement of molecules in a body . Thus, if we have a one-meter iron bar at room temperature, it will have a certain thermal energy. If we cut that bar in half, the two new bars will have the same temperature, but the thermal energy is half of the original bar.

Heat is the transfer of energy from an object with a higher temperature to another with a lower temperature. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that a body has “heat”, energy is called heat when it passes from one place to another.

Sound energy

Definition of sound energy:

Sound energy is a type of mechanical energy that results from the vibration of particles in the form of waves through a transmission medium. Sound waves need a medium to travel, such as water or air. In solid media, sound travels at a higher speed than in liquids. In a vacuum there is no transmission of sound.

Sound energy is used in ultrasound to remove kidney stones and in echosonograms to visualize internal organs.

Solar energy

Definition And its source:

Solar energy is radiant energy from the Sun. The star of our planetary system is composed of helium and hydrogen, and it is thanks to the nuclear reactions of these elements that we have solar energy.

The Sun is responsible for the existence of life on Earth; Solar energy is what makes the air move, the water cycle, the formation of chemical energy by plants, among others.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is produced by the kinetic energy of moving air. Wind turbines convert this energy into electrical power.

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