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Energy is simply the ability to do work or make change. This allows us to do things like walk and stand. Without energy, we wouldn't be able to do anything. You can find energy everywhere. You can find energy in yourself (chemical energy which is stored in your body), animals, and anything else that's living. The word energy can be defined as "the potential for causing changes". Energy is a conserved quantity; which means that it can't be destroyed or created, but only converted one form to another. The total energy of the universe will always remain constant, no matter what.


This page contains a general overview of the main types of energy. If you want more specific information about the types of energy that we study in class, visit these wiki pages:


General Overview of Types of Energy:



Heat Energy


Heat always tries to even itself out. When the hot particles touch the cold particles, they will try to speed up the cold particles. As the fast (hot) particles bump into the slow (cold) particles, they will try to heat up the cold particles and the cold particles will start to speed up. So the more the fast particles bump into the slow particles, the hotter they will be. Eventually the hot and cold particles will be at the same speed. 




Potential Energy


Potential energy is the energy that has the potential make change. An example is when someone is about to run somewhere, then that person has potential energy in them to go and run to that place.It could change into kenetic,mechanical...etc.



Kinetic Energy 


Kinetic energy is energy that is in motion or is moving. An example of kinetic energy is opening a door. The kinetic energy of an object is the extra energy which it possesses due to its motion. Kinectic energy is similar to mechanical energy because they both involve movement.




Mechanical Energy


Mechanical energy is energy that you can physically see moving. It is energy that you use to do everyday things. This energy is similar to kinetic, but mechanical energy has the ability to move objects. An example of mechanical energy is when wind moves sand particles. Another example is someone picking up and object and dropping it. Some examples of this energy would be: turning a key, kicking a soccer ball, jumping, and typing on the computer.




Light Energy


Light energy is electromagnetic energy that you can see. One source of light energy is the sun. It also comes from flashlights, fires, computers, lightbulbs, TVs, fireflies, and other electronic devices. Light energy is the energy that can produce light. Light energy is can also produce heat energy. Things that produce both light energy and heat energy are things such as, fire or lightbulbs. When fire or lightbulbs produce light energy, at the same time they are creating heat. The amount of light can make heat appear. When lightbulbs are on for a long period of time, they get warmer and create heat energy. Also, fire is hot the minute it appears. So light can also create heat energy.




Electrical Energy


Electrical energy comes from batteries and power plants. It can also refer to very close related meanings. For example, the energy stored in an electrical field is electric energy.  Last, the energy provided by electricity. A use for electric energy is to turn a flashlight on and off. Without electrical energy, nothing that is electrical could work. All of our electronic devices are powered by electrical energy.



Nuclear Energy


Nuclear energy is all around the world for an efficient, fast process that releases very large amounts of energy that is used as electricity. This happens when you split an atom, creating vast amounts of energy and an explosion equivalent to an atomic. This is called fission. Another type of nuclear energy is fusion. This is the act of fusing two atoms together, which then creates vast amounts of energy.


Scientists now know that fusion generates more power than fission. One day power plants may actually start using fusion just like our hydrogen today. However, fission and fusion both create an extreme amount of energy and the way it happens can be traced back to when Albert Einstein discovered the famous equation, E=mc^2. This famous formula basically describes how mass and energy is really the same. So when atoms are split or fused, a tiny amount of mass is lost. Since mass and energy are the same, this mass really turned out into an extreme amount of energy. That is how nuclear and power plants work.


There is also something called decay. Decay is kind of the same thing as fission, except this process takes a long time. Decay happens when an atom is splitting but little by little. That's why there is not that much energy released. Every time the atom splits a little, it releases little energy. The energy is so small we can't see it or feel it! There would be a lot of energy released if the atom just split. Another thing about decay is that it's impossible to predict when it will happen. Scientists can actually make fission, but decay happens naturally. It might even take a thousand years!


The leftover Uranium pellets that are used for power in the power plants reactor are extremely radioactive and very dangerous, so they are buried miles underground. One Uranium pellet can create the same amount of energy as two filled classrooms full of coal (One Uranium pellet is about two inches long). Scientists are currently trying to discover a way to use Uranium pellets for energy instead of coal without keeping the leftovers from breaking apart the Uranium. Nuclear energy is a very powerful source and it's hard to control.


(The sun is an example of nuclear energy).


Chemical Energy


Chemical energy is the energy that comes when your body breaks down food and converts the food into energy that your body then uses. Did you know that a fat person has more some foods have less energy than other foods? For example, noodles might have more energy than your body energy than a skinny person, because a fat person has more stored food (energy). It's a form potential energy related to the structural arrangement of atoms and molecules. Chemical energy of a chemical substance can be transformed to other forms of energy by a chemical reaction. Chemical energy is stored on the chemical bonds of molecules. This energy is stored in food, which is converted into mechanical energy. You really need that candy bar such as a CRUNCH bar. Even though these are very unhealthy for you, they fuel you. Even though candy bars fuel you, you may want to try an energy bar instead.


Thermal Energy


Thermal energy is associated with the heat of an object. Also, thermal energy can be also regarded either a synonym for thermodynamic energy (a synonym for internal energy) or as synonym of heat. Like when you put a broccoli in a microwave the heat of the microwave makes the molecules and atoms move faster generating more heat. When you put the brocolli in a refrigerator the molecules and atoms begin to slow down. So since there isn't a lot of movement, heat can't be generated. Also what about when you roast a marshmallow. When you put the marshmallow over the flames the molecules start to move faster and faster and faster. When you put the marshmallow in your mouth the molecules are moving so fast it burns your mouth. In class we thought of it this way: fast equals hot and slow equals cold. Slow meaning that as the atoms move slower, they cool down. Fast meaning the atoms are speeding up with the heat that is being generated.



The Law of Conservation of Energy


The law of conservation of energy is that energy is never created or destroyed, it only changes form. For example, kicking a soccer ball has many energy conversions. In this case the energy needed to kick the soccer ball is first comes from the sun. The sun first uses nuclear energy to produce electromagnetic energy. Then the law of conservation of energy comes into play again, as that electromagnetic energy becomes thermal energy. This thermal energy is then used to grow the foods we later eat. After eating the food grown from the thermal energy from the sun, our body turns the food into chemical energy.

Then when we go to play soccer, and we’re raising our foot to kick the winning goal, we have potential energy. As we lower our foot the potential energy soon becomes kinetic energy (since our foot is moving). When we kick the ball towards the goal our kinetic energy changes again to become mechanical energy. When our soccer ball is rolling down field as mechanical energy, it is also has thermal energy because it creates friction rubbing on the grass. Our soccer ball also may have sound energy if it hits an obstacle or if it goes in the goal. Then crowd would use their chemical energy from the nuclear, electromagnetic, and thermal energy at the sun to create sound energy.


Other Information on Energy


 All types of energy transfers from one thing to another. Energy can take on several forms: potential energy, thermal energy, chemical energy, kinetic energy, mechanical energy, electrical energy, and nuclear energy. Some of the examples are that you can use kinetic energy to climb a set of stairs and when you do that you create thermal energy, which gives off heat. Another example is; you can use the motion of the water over a water wheel to create a generator that powers energy. Friction is an example of thermal energy, kinetic energy, and usually, mechanical energy.






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