Different Forms of Energy

Wind Turbines

Energy exists in many different forms. Examples of these are: light energy, heat energy, mechanical energy, gravitational energy, electrical energy, sound energy, chemical energy, nuclear or atomic energy and so on. These forms of energy can be transferred and transformed between one another. This is of immense benefit to us. For a source of energy to end up as electricity it may undergo many transformations before it can power the light bulb in your home.

Although there are many specific types of energy, the two major forms are Kinetic Energy and Potential Energy.

Kinetic energy is the energy in moving objects or mass. Wind energy is an example. The molecules of gas within the air, are moving giving them kinetic energy.

Potential energy is any form of energy that has stored potential that can be put to future use. For example, water stored in a dam for hydroelectricity generation is a form of potential energy. When valves are opened the force of gravity cause water to begin to flow. The gravitational potential energy of the water is converting to kinetic energy. The flowing water can turn a turbine, which will further convert the kinetic energy of the water into useable mechanical energy. An alternator or generator then converts the mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy. This electricity is then sent to the electricity grid and to our homes where it is converted into light energy (lights and televisions), sound energy (televisions, stereos), heat energy (hot water, toasters, ovens), mechanical energy (fans, vacuum cleaners, fridge and air conditioner compressors) and so on.

Some modern plasma and LCD TVs actually sense the brightness of the surroundings and, if it is less bright, they automatically dim the screen, saving energy.
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