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Modern civilization is possible because we have learned how to change energy from one form to another and use it to do work for us and to live more comfortably.
Energy forms are either potential or kinetic.
Potential energy comes in forms that are stored. Kind of like a person sitting in a chair thinking about repairing their appliance. Chemical, gravitational, mechanical, and nuclear are all potential energy forms.
Kinetic energy forms are actually doing the work; electrical, heat, light, motion, andsound are kinetic energy forms.
Potential energy is stored energy and the energy of position such as gravitational energy (holding the high ground), or energy stored in a spring.
is what is stored in a battery, and can be used to power a cell phone or start a car. Electrical energy is delivered by tiny charged particles called electrons, typically moving through a wire. Lightning is an example of electrical energy in nature, so powerful that it is not confined to a wire.
is energy stored in the bonds of atoms and molecules. Biomass, petroleum, natural gas, and coal are examples of stored chemical energy. Chemical energy is converted to thermal energy when we burn wood in a fireplace or burn gasoline in a car's engine.
is energy stored in objects by tension. Compressed springs and stretched rubber bands are examples of stored mechanical energy.
is energy stored in the nucleus of an atom — the energy that holds the nucleus together. Very large amounts of energy can be released when the nuclei are combined or split apart. Nuclear power plants split the nuclei of uranium atoms in a process called fission. The sun combines the nuclei of hydrogen atoms in a process called fusion.
is energy stored in an object's height. The higher and heavier the object, the more gravitational energy is stored. When you ride a bicycle down a steep hill and pick up speed, the gravitational energy is being converted to motion energy. Hydropower is another example of gravitational energy, where the dam "piles" up water from a river into a reservoir.
Kinetic energy is the motion of waves, molecules, objects, substances, and objects.
is electromagnetic energy that travels in transverse waves. Radiant energy includes visible light, x-rays, gamma rays and radio waves. Light is one type of radiant energy. Sunshine is radiant energy, which provides the fuel and warmth that make life on Earth possible.
Thermal Energy or heat, is the vibration and movement of the atoms and molecules within substances. As an object is heated up, its atoms and molecules move and collide faster. Geothermal energy is the thermal energy in the Earth. Heat is commonly measured using BTU’s or British Thermal Units. One BTU is roughly equivalent to the heat of one match
is energy stored in the movement of objects. The faster they move, the more energy is stored. It takes energy to get an object moving and energy is released when an object slows down. Wind is an example of motion energy. A dramatic example of motion is a car crash, when the car comes to a total stop and releases all its motion energy at once in an uncontrolled instant.
Sound is the movement of energy through substances in longitudinal (compression/rarefaction) waves. Sound is produced when a force causes an object or substance to vibrate — the energy is transferred through the substance in a wave. Typically, the energy in sound is far less than other forms of energy.