What is potential energy?
The energy that any object or body has in its rest position is potential energy. In other terms, it is the energy that is saved in an object by its position, state, or composition that may also be described as the potential energy. Lets find out the examples of potential energy used in everyday life.
Types of potential energy
Potential power is used in everyday life can come in different types including;
- Electric potential energy– that body possess due to the charges (positive/negative)
- Gravitational potential energy – potential energy in an object when held up vertically at any height on Earth
- Elastic potential energy – Energy in the objects which they are compressed and stretched state
- Chemical Potential energy – between chemical bonds in substances such as food.
Let’s just take elastic potential energy for understanding, the potential elastic energy is connected to the nature of the elasticity of the substance.
When such objects are exposed to forces to elongate them greater than their strength, they tend to come back in their original shape.
The intensity of elastic potential energy largely depends on how much an object can be stretched, the more stretchable, the more energy it has.
This sudden action is due to the stored potential energy that you see while operating with the springs. This potential energy has an ancient history in wars such as catapults or arrows shooting arrows.
Elastic potential energy is a type of energy that only flowing through a body when it is compressed or stretched by applying force to it. Talking in terms of physics, this energy can easily be calculated by an online elastic potential energy calculator if you are provided with values of change in position due to stretching.
This Energy can be generated and stored in multiple ways. Take a simple example of a rubber band in your head. Imagine a rubber band is placed in front of you, and it is nothing more than a piece of rubber until you take it in your hand and start stretching it more and more.
What will happen next? You are storing energy in it by stretching it apart, this stored energy is potential energy. When you release the rubber band after stretching, it comes back to its original state with the same force (energy) you have stored in it.
Almost all other types of potential energy work on the same principle and can be calculated with their particular formulas, such as elastic potential energy can be determined when you are provided with values of change in positions.
Does it seem difficult and tiring to do these calculations? Do not worry, online calculators can do the needful for your ease such as elastic potential energy calculator can find the value of potential energy in a matter of no time.
Daily life examples of potential energy
With all the above-mentioned specifics about potential energy in consideration, let’s look at some examples in daily life.
1. Cliff rocks
A cliff rock has potential much energy. This rock’s potential energy is mainly due to the position. Since we already mentioned, the energy retained in a body because of its height is known as the potential gravitational energy.
Thus, we may assume that the energy in the rock is the potential of gravity. Also, if anyone forces the cliff down, the same potential will be converted into kinetic energy that results in changing its position. The next time you visit and see a rock at the edge of the cliff, you should note that it has some energy deposited there in the form of the potential of gravity.
2. Stretched Bow
Ever noticed how bow catapult actually works? When you take a stone and place it in the sling of a catapult and apply force in stretching its rubber, actually you are storing potential energy in it.
This stored energy is potential energy that changes into kinetic energy when you release the catapult and that throws stone far away from it. The same concept goes with the water that is stored in dams.
Air-filled balloons carry potential energy in them. In balloons, the air is forced to be stored in limited space, and because of air pressure, its walls stretch and get expand. The air stands still in there as far as the balloon burst and its stored potential energy converted into kinetic and sound energy.
4. Fruits on tree branches
Fruits are always suspended in the air on tree branches, it is due to gravitational potential energy.
5. Roller coaster
The roller coaster needs to take its potential energy by hand up to the heights. These peaks are mechanically unstable balancing points. You have to apply force to its engine to hit the first highest height. However, once at the top, the remaining of the ride will be carried out due to consistent force of gravity.
A simple pendulum that everyone has seen in physics class, works because of potential energy. When you take the pendulum and release it from some height, it will go to the same height in opposite direction as well.
It moves because of energy stored in it due to changes in position and gravitational energy. It will eventually stop as air friction is always there but due to its height, potential energy retains in it forever.
Almost all types of batteries carry a significant amount of potential energy that works only when it is activated, and it is only activated by the bonding of electrical charges.
When a gun is at rest, it has potential energy in it, which means bullets in the rest position contain potential energy. When it is fired from the gun, the same potential energy turns out to be kinetic.
Stretching before diving in water is also an example of storing gravitational potential energy. As soon as you dive into the water, this gravitational potential energy converts into kinetic energy that helps you in swimming.
10. Wreaking ball
Wreaking ball works the same as a pendulum. The cranes have these attached wreaking balls to swing it to a certain height (stores potential energy) hit the buildings and converted into working energy that crushes building structures.