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Kinetic and Potential Energy: The Difference

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by

Leah Youngquist

on 7 February 2011

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Transcript of Kinetic and Potential Energy: The Difference

Kinetic and Potential Energy: The Difference Potential energy exists when an object has mass and it has a place in a force field. Potential Energy When a skier is perched on a mountain, teetering on the edge of sking down. Like this Like these guys. Even pulling a rubber band back to snap your sister with is potential energy. Or pulling a bow string back to release an arrow. In other words, if an object has the ability to release energy or do work, it has potential energy. Calculating potential energy is easy. You just multiply the mass, the gravitational spin of the earth (4.9m/s), and the distance above the earth's surface together. Resulting in the formula PE=mgh. Potential energy is measured in Joules. All energy is measured in joules, actually. Kinetic Energy Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. Or, in other words, when an object with mass releases or uses energy with movement. When a ball rolls down a hill, it is using kinetic energy. Energy is the ability to do work. These types of energies are separated into potential and kinetic energies. Pictured: kinetic energy. The formula for kinetic energy is: KE= 1/2mv^2 when KE stands for kinetic energy, m = mass, v = velocity. There are several forms of kinetic energy. Rotational for when an object is rotating (like a fan). Vibrational for when an object vibrates (like a video game controller or a cell phone). Translational for when one object transfers its energy to another object (like a Newton's cradle). Kinetic energy is also described as the amount of work required to move an object from a state of rest to a current velocity. Potential energy is a result of gravity pulling the object towards the earth. So, what's the difference? Kinetic energy is energy of motion, but potential energy is the ability to do work or start motion. Kinetic energy happens when something IS moving. Potential energy occurs when something CAN move. Even pulling a rubber band back to snap your sister with is potential energy. Even pulling a rubber band back to snap your sister with is potential energy. Potential energy exists when an object has mass and has a place in a force field. Basically, when an object is suspended in the air, but it can't fall because it is held back by another force. So, what is the difference? Kenetic energy is the energy that comes from moton, but potential energy is the abilitty to have energy from motion.
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