energy of the body

Energy is a universal term we use a lot in our daily life. Although used loosely quite often, energy has a specific physical meaning. In physics, we define energy as the ability of something to do work. Energy can exist in many forms. All forms of energy are either kinetic or potential. In this article, let us understand what energy is and the different types of energy in detail.

What is Energy?

There are different forms of energy on earth. The sun is considered the elemental form of energy on earth. In physics, energy is considered a quantitative property that can be transferred from an object to perform work. Hence, we can define energy as the strength to do any kind of physical activity. Thus, in simple words, we can define energy as.

Energy is the ability to do work

According to the laws of conservation of energy, “ energy can neither be created nor destroyed but can only be converted from one form to another”. The SI unit of energy is Joule.

Units of Energy

The International System of Units of measurement of energy is joule. The unit of energy is named after James Prescott Joule. Joule is a derived unit equal to the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter. However, energy is also expressed in many other units not part of the SI, such as ergs, calories, British Thermal Units, kilowatt-hours, and kilocalories, which require a conversion factor when expressed in SI units.

Read More: Unit of Energy.

Energy Conversion: Transfer and Transform

We know energy can be transferred from one form to another. The movement of energy from one location to another is known as energy transfer. We notice various energy transformations happening around us.

Following are the four ways through which energy can be transferred:

  • Mechanically – By the action of force
  • Electrically – Electrically
  • By Radiation – By Light waves or Sound waves
  • By Heating – By conduction, convection, or radiation

The process which results in the energy changing from one form to another is known as energy transformation. While energy can be transformed or transferred, the total amount of energy does not change ­– this is called energy conservation.

Read MoreEnergy Conversion

Law of Conservation of Energy

The law of energy conservation is one of physics’s basic laws. It governs the microscopic motion of individual atoms in a chemical reaction. The law of conservation of energy states that “In a closed system, i.e., a system that is isolated from its surroundings, the total energy of the system is conserved.” According to the law, the total energy in a system is conserved even though energy transformation occurs. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be converted from one form to another.

Read More: Law of Conservation of Energy

Different Types of Energy

Forms of Energy

Although there are many forms of energy, it is broadly categorized into:

  1. Kinetic Energy 
  2. Potential Energy

Forms of Energy

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is the energy associated with the object’s motion. Objects in motion are capable of causing a change or are capable of doing work. To better understand, let us think of a wrecking ball. A wrecking ball in motion is used to do work such as the demolition of buildings, stones, etc. Even a slow-moving wrecking ball is capable of causing a lot of damage to another object, such as an empty house. However, a wrecking ball that is not in motion does not do any post.

Another example of kinetic energy is the energy associated with the constant, random bouncing of atoms or molecules. This is also known as thermal energy. The average thermal energy of a group of molecules is what we call temperature, and when thermal energy is transferred between two objects, it’s known as heat.

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