All energy can be either in two forms, i.e. kinetic energy or potential energy. Energy can be transferred from potential energy to kinetic energy and kinetic energy to potential energy.

Definition of Potential energy

  • The stored energy is generally called as potential energy.

  • Energy that is stored that is waiting to be used later is called potential energy.

  • The potential energy PE of an object is equal to the mass m , g  gravitational acceleration of the earth and h  height above earth's surface.



Definition of Kinetic energy

  • The energy possessed by a body because of its motion, equal to one half the mass of the body times the square of its speed.

    The amount of kinetic energy KE of an object in translational motion is equal to one-half the product of its mass m and the square of its velocity v.


Types of kinetic energy

Three types of kinetic energy are available. They are

  • Rotational Kinetic Energy 

  • Translational Kinetic Energy 

  • Vibrational Kinetic Energy 


Rotational Kinetic Energy

Rotational kinetic energy occurs when matter spins around an axis. The second hand on a watch exhibits rotational energy. The Earth has rotational energy as it spins around its axis.

Translational Kinetic Energy

Translational Kinetic Energy  is when something is moving in a straight line, like driving your car down the road. It is also when molecules of air are flying around us all the time (even though we can't see or feel them).


Vibrational Kinetic Energy

Vibrational Kinetic Energy  is Vibrational energy through Vibrational motion. Think of a spring joining two weights together. You pull on one of the weights far away and then watch them swing back and forth, towards and away from each other. This is also the same kind of motion that atoms when they are joined together to form molecules.

Types of potential energy:

Potential energy is generally of three types. They are

  • Elastic potential energy

  • Gravitational potential energy

  • Chemical potential energy


Elastic potential energy

Elastic potential energy is Potential energy stored as a result of deformation of an elastic object, such as the stretching of a spring.

Gravitational potential energy

When an object falls from one point to another point inside a gravitational field, the force of gravity will do positive work on the object resulting in the decrease of gravitational energy by some amount it is called gravitational potential energy.

Chemical potential energy

Chemical potential energy is a form of potential energy related to the structural arrangement of atoms or molecules. This arrangement may be the result of chemical bonds within a molecule or otherwise.

Relation between kinetic energy and potential energy

We know that potential energy is the energy that is stored within an object while kinetic energy is the energy that is in motion. The connection between the two is that potential energy transforms into kinetic energy. This can be seen in an example such as a book sitting on a counter. When the book is at rest, it has potential energy. But, say, when a person walks by and accidentally knocks the book off of the counter, the book has kinetic energy as it falls, because it is in motion and the potential energy has transformed into kinetic energy

Potential kinetic energy



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Types of Energy    


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