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Examples of Kinetic Energy

examples of kinetic energy skating

When you’re studying energy, there are a lot of confusing terms. Kinetic energy, potential energy, heat, power, source, ionization, chemical energy, mechanical energy, thermal energy: they’re all apart of the discussion, along with many other terms. But what are these things? And what are some examples of kinetic energy, potential energy, and others?

If you need to grasp this complex concept, there are some simple definitions to understand. You should also look at examples of kinetic energy, and potential energy.

What is Energy?

Energy, simply put, is the ability or power to move, think, or otherwise be active. Energy can also be defined as usable power or even the sources that enable that power.

Without energy, an object cannot move, flames cannot flicker, and people cannot walk or think.

What Kinds of Energy are There?

Energy comes in many forms, fueled by many sources.

  • Mechanical
  • Magnetic
  • Electrical
  • Gravitational
  • Ionization
  • Chemical
  • Nuclear
  • Elastic
  • Chromodynamic
  • Mechanical wave
  • Soundwave
  • Radiant
  • Rest
  • Thermal

Within these forms, any object that has energy may have kinetic or potential energy.

What is Kinetic Energy?

Kinetic energy is a term in physics used to describe the energy of an object in motion. The word “kinetic” comes from the Greek word that means motion. A very basic definition of kinetic energy is that the energy an object has due to its motion is kinetic energy.

The work that’s needed to accelerate an object to its velocity from a state of resting is another way of putting kinetic energy.

You could also say that kinetic energy is the energy of motion.

What is Potential Energy?

Potential energy is not being used, but it is energy that could be used. The position of an object, or its parts, determine its potential energy.

For example, a roller coaster that’s flown down one slope and is sitting atop the next slope has potential energy. If it is “nudged” forward, it will fly down the tracks, using its potential energy to become kinetic energy.

What is Velocity?

Basically, velocity is the speed of motion of an object. The higher the speed, the higher the velocity of an object.

An object’s kinetic energy increases as its velocity increases.

What’s the Difference Between Kinetic Energy and Potential Energy?

The difference between kinetic energy and potential energy is whether or not the object is in motion. An object, like a frisbee in someone’s hand, has potential energy, but once it leaves the person’s hand and is in motion, it has kinetic energy.

What are Some Examples of Kinetic Energy?

To further explain, we’ll offer a variety of examples of kinetic energy.

Example 1

An airplane in flight has kinetic energy. The high velocity and large mass of the airplane mean it has significant kinetic energy.

Example 2

At the top of a hill, a downhill skier has potential energy. Once he is in motion, and gliding down the hills, his potential energy becomes kinetic motion, which increases as his velocity increases.

Example 3

Using a hammer has both potential and kinetic energy at work. As you swing the hammer, you’re using kinetic energy. That pause before a backswing is when the potential energy “accumulates” in the hammer swing back toward the original position.

When the hammer head strikes the nail head, the velocity and power of the swing transfer into the hammer strike, which is how a nail is driven into wood.

Example 4

A vehicle in motion is using kinetic energy to move it forward on the road. This object combines the forms of electric, mechanical, and gravitational energy to move.

Example 5

A marathon runner at the start line has potential energy. She has fueled up with food, water, and has the training background to ensure a whole lot of kinetic energy will be put out once the starter pistol fires.

Once the runner leaves the gate, she is exerting kinetic energy.

Example 6

A crawling baby is another example of kinetic energy. The child has potential energy until he starts moving. At the time of the motion, the potential energy is transferred into motion, and the baby is moved forward via kinetic energy.

Example 7

A golf ball sitting on the golf tee has no energy. However, the golf club coming towards it is using the potential energy from the backswing translated into kinetic energy of the forward motion to create potential for the golf ball to use kinetic energy once the velocity of the club sets it into motion.

Kinetic Energy, Potential Energy, and Putting Them to Use

Any moving object has kinetic energy. The energy transferred from its position during resting state is the kinetic energy of an object. Or, more simply put, kinetic energy is the energy or power of an object in motion. Airplanes flying, cars driving, runners running, are all very basic examples of kinetic energy.

In addition, industrial engineers work to eliminate energy and other resources that do not generate value. Click here if you would like to know What Does An Industrial Engineer Do?.


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