Types of Energy

Types of EnergyTypes of Energy is the energy associated with motion and potential energy is the energy associated with position in a system. Energy, in general, is the ability to do work.

Both kinetic and potential energy represent the two fundamental types of existing energy. Any other energy is a different version of potential or kinetic energy or a combination of both. For example, mechanical energy is the combination of kinetic and potential energy.

DefinitionEnergy associated with movement.Energy associated with position in a system.SI unitsJoule, 1J = kg.m 2 /s 2Joule, 1J = kg.m 2 /s 2FormulaE k = ½ m . v2 _

  • P = mgh (gravitational)
  • el =½ kx 2 (elastic)
  • Wind
  • thermal
  • Gravitational
  • elastic
  • electrical
  • Chemistry

Types of Energy

Kinetic energy is the type of energy that is associated with motion . Anything that is moving has kinetic energy.

In the international system (SI), the unit of kinetic energy is the jouje (J), the same as that of work. One joule corresponds to 1 kg.m 2 /s 2 .

Formula to calculate kinetic energy

The kinetic energy (E k ) can be calculated using the formula:

k = ½ m . v2 , _


  • m corresponds to the mass of the object and
  • v to the speed of the object.

From this formula we can deduce that kinetic energy depends on the amount of mass and speed. Thus, a car traveling at the same speed as a truck has less kinetic energy. On the other hand, a car traveling at 80 km/h has more kinetic energy than one traveling at 40 km/h.

Examples of Kinetic Energy

In everyday life there are many examples of the use of kinetic energy.

The game of bowling, where a person throws a ball between 3 and 7 kg in order to knock down 10 pins, is based on the kinetic energy carried by the ball, which depends on its mass and speed.

What is Potential Energy?

Potential energy is the type of energy that is associated with the relative position within a system, that is, the position of one object with respect to another. Two separate magnets have potential energy with respect to each other.

In SI, the unit of potential energy is the jouje (J), as is kinetic energy. One joule corresponds to 1 kg.m 2 /s 2 .

Formulas to Calculate Potential Energy

Gravitational potential energy is the energy due to the position of the object relative to the Earth’s surface:

Pg = mgh ,


  • m is the mass of the object (kilograms),
  • g is the gravitational acceleration constant of the Earth (equal to 9.8 m/s 2 ) and
  • h is the distance (height in meters) between the Earth and the object.

Gravitational energy depends on the mass of the object and the height at which the object is relative to a reference level.

The formula for elastic potential energy is equal to:

el =½ kx 2


  • k is the force constant of the spring and
  • x is the measure of the displacement of the spring from an initial point to the final point.

When the distance is zero, that is, the spring has not been stretched, the elastic potential energy is equal to 0.

Examples of Potential Energy

Within the sources we use to obtain energy, many depend on potential energy. Let’s see.

Water stored in elevated reservoirs, such as dams, has gravitational potential energy. When the water falls, it transforms its potential energy into kinetic energy, capable of doing work in the turbines located at the bottom of the dam. These turbines generate electricity that is distributed to the electrical distribution network of towns and cities.

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