What is Potential energy?
Potential energy is one of the two types of energy. It is the amount of energy stored in an object when work is done on it. As energy can neither be created nor destroyed so work is done, which is also a form of energy, is converted into potential energy. Potential energy is always with respect to some reference level. A body can both possess or have zero potential energy from different viewpoints.
Potential energy Example
Consider a ball is placed on a wall which is 10 feet higher from the ground.
According to a person standing on the wall, the ball has zero potential energy. But from the point of view of a person on the ground ball has some Potential energy.
Types of potential energy
There are two basic types of potential energy.
- Gravitational potential energy
- Elastic potential energy
Gravitational potential energy:
It is the energy stored in an object when its position changed with respect to the ground.
The gravitational potential energy formula is
- m is mass
- g is the gravitational acceleration
- h is the difference in the height of two surfaces
Where mass is in kilograms, acceleration in meter per second square
and height in meters.
Some examples of gravitational potential energy are
- Helicopter flying above the ground
- Glass placed on a countertop
- A flying kite
- Nest on a tree
How to calculate gravitational potential energy?
You can calculate gravitational potential energy manually by following these instructions.
Multiply mass with gravitational acceleration, which is 9.8ms-2 at sea level, with the difference
of heights according to the potential energy equation.
How to use our potential energy calculator?
Our calculator is the best tool you should use when you are calculating gravitational potential energy. Below are the steps through which you can calculate gravitational potential energy through our calculator.
- Enter mass
- Enter gravitational acceleration
- Enter height
- Select unit
- Click calculate
Now, it might seem that is a lot of work but when you get on with it will take, at most, 3 minutes. I think its more convenient than spending 10 minutes on paper to calculate it.
Elastic potential energy:
It is the energy stored when a body is compressed or stretched, changing its original shape.
Mathematically it is calculated through this formula.
- K is elastic constant
- x is displacement
It is the limit to which an object can be stretched without causing permanent damage to the object.
Change in potential energy:
If a body possessing some potential energy again undergoes some work, it experiences a change in its stored amount of energy. This change is calculated through this formula
- is the initial potential energy
- is the final potential energy
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