Machines Theory

Various types of energy and their examples

There are different types of energy that can be transformed into other sorts of energy. Energy types are categorized into two basic forms which include Kinetic and Potential. The law of conservation stated that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed from one type of energy to another. This is why we defined energy as the ability to do work.

Today you’ll get to know the various types of energy and their examples.

Read more: Understanding energy sources

types of energy


Types of energy

Just as earlier stated, energy can never be created or destroyed, but it can be transformed from one type to another. The image below shows the various forms of energy and their transformation.

Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. A good example a swinging pendulum bob.

Potential energy is due to an object’s position. A good example is a ball sitting on a table with respect to the floor because gravity acts upon it.

The various types of energy include mechanical energy, thermal energy, nuclear energy, chemical energy, electromagnetic energy, sonic energy, gravitational energy, ionization energy, kinetic energy, and potential energy.

Read more: Forms of energy: kinetic and potential energy

Mechanical energy

Mechanical energy is the sum of kinetic energy and potential energy. It is the result of the movement or location of an object. A good example of mechanical energy includes a flowing river, a person running, or a wind blow. The energy is stored in objects, that is, as the object moves faster, the more energy stored. These types of energy are also known as motion energy.

Thermal energy

Thermal energy is reflected temperature difference between two systems. It is created from the vibration of atoms and molecules within substances. The faster they move the more energy they possess and the hotter they become. An example of thermal energy is a cup of hot coffee. You generate thermal energy with respect to your environment. These types of energy are also called heat energy.

Read more: Motion – everything you need to know on motion

Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is the energy resulting from changes in the atomic nuclei or from nuclear reactions. The energy is stored in the nucleus of atoms and it’s released when the nuclei are combined (fusion) or split apart (fission). In nuclear power plants, the nuclei of uranium atoms are split to produce electricity, which is one good example of this energy.

Chemical energy

This energy results from chemical reactions between atoms or molecules, it is stored in bonds of atoms and molecules. This is the energy that holds the particles together. Chemical energy is of different types which include electrochemical energy and chemiluminescence. A good example of chemical energy is an electrochemical cell or battery. Also, stored chemical energy is found in biomass, natural gas, food, and petroleum.

Read more: Understanding buoyancy

Electromagnetic energy

These are energy from light or electromagnetic waves. It is a type of kinetic energy that travels in waves. examples of these types of energy are any form of light, including parts of the spectrum we can’t see. Radio, gamma rays, x-rays, microwaves, and ultraviolet light are examples of electromagnetic energy. This energy is also called light energy or radiant energy.

Sonic energy

This energy is obtained from sound waves. Sound energy is the movement of energy through substances either through the air or another medium. Sound energy is produced when a force makes an object or substance vibrate. There is usually much less energy in sound than any other form of energy. Examples are sonic boom, a song played on a stereo, you talking or singing.

Gravitational energy

This energy involves the attraction between two objects based on their mass. It is a form of potential energy and can serve as a basis for mechanical energy. Also, as kinetic energy of the moon in orbit around the earth. The energy is associated with gravity or gravitational force, which is the energy held by an object when it is in a high position compared to a lower position.

Read more: Understanding Archimedes principle

Ionization energy

Ionization energy is a form of energy that binds electrons to the nucleus of its atom, ion, or molecule.  For instance, the first ionization energy of an atom is the energy needed to remove one electron completely. The second ionization energy is energy to remove a second electron and is greater than that needed to eliminate the first electron.

Light energy

Light energy is a form of electromagnetic radiation, consisting of photons that are produced when an object’s atoms heat up. The light travels in waves and is the only form of energy visible to the human eye. Finally,

Elastic energy

This is a form of potential energy that is stored in an elastic object such as a coiled spring or a stretched elastic band. Elastic energy is stored in objects when a force causes them to be stretched or squashed.

Read more: How Force changes the State of Motion

That is all for this post, where the various types and forms of energy are being discussed. I hope you enjoyed the reading, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you next time!

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