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Potential Energy Definition

Potential energy is stored due to an object's position. For example, a bent bow stores potential energy, converted into kinetic energy when the arrow flies.

View Lesson on Potential vs. Kinetic Energy
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Potential vs. Kinetic Energy

Fun Facts

  • A roller coaster gains potential energy as it ascends a hill.
  • Compressing a spring stores potential energy.
  • A higher drop increases a mic's potential energy.

Why Do We Need To Know About Potential Energy

Learning about potential energy helps us see how engineers fix real-world problems and why it’s so important for making things like devices and structures. For example, when people design prosthetic legs that use potential and kinetic energy, it helps users run faster. This shows how understanding different types of energy can make life better.

Also, things like roller coasters, car safety features, and sports gear are all made with potential and kinetic energy in mind. Engineers use their knowledge of these energies to make sure these things are safe, work well, and are fun to use. This shows how potential energy is key in many parts of our daily lives and technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between kinetic and potential energy?
Kinetic energy is energy of motion and potential energy is associated with the relative position of something.
What variable(s) determine the amount of kinetic energy an object has?
Mass and speed.
What variable(s) determine the amount of potential energy an object has?
The object’s position and its mass.
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