Learn a new word every day. Omissions? Work refers to the transfer of energy from one object to another, and has a close relationship with kinetic energy. What is commonly known as chemical energy, the capacity of a substance to do work or to evolve heat by undergoing a change of composition, may be regarded as potential energy resulting from the mutual forces among its molecules and atoms. Kinetic energy can be transferred between objects. Energy refers to the ability of an object or system to perform work. In the case of the Earth-ball system, the force of gravity between the two depends only on the distance separating them. Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. Gravitational Potential Energy. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Delivered to your inbox! The value of potential energy is arbitrary and relative to the choice of reference point. These three concepts are closely related, and understanding each concept requires the context of the others. That work takes more power, which generates more heat. Simplified, this formula can be written as: Potential Energy = mgh, where m is the mass, measured in kilograms; g is the acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s^2 at the surface of the Earth); and h is the height, measured in meters.
A spring has more potential energy when it is compressed or stretched. Send us feedback. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Potential energy also includes other forms. An easy way to visualize this interaction is with your hands.
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Only two northern white rhinos remain. Gravitational potential energy is the energy stored in an object due to its location within some gravitational field, most commonly the gravitational field of the Earth. Potential energy is a property of a system and not of an individual body or particle; the system composed of Earth and the raised ball, for example, has more potential energy as the two are farther separated. A large sandstone boulder rests precariously over a steep slope. relationship between potential and kinetic energy, demonstrations of kinetic and potential energy.