What is Energy

energy refers to the inherent capacity of bodies to carry out work, movement, or change that leads to the transformation of something.

The word energy is used in different areas such as physics, economics, technology, chemistry, among others. Its meaning is variable, hence energy is related to the ideas of force, storage, movement, transformation or operation.

In a broader sense, the term energy is also used in everyday language to refer to the vigor or activity of a person, object, or organization. For example, “Maria woke up with a lot of energy to go to work.”

The term energy derives from the Greek energeticwhich means ‘force of action’ or ‘power of labour’, and from energetic which means ‘activity’ or ‘operation’.

energy in physics

In physics, energy is called ability of all bodies to perform work, action or movement. It is a physical property that cannot be created or destroyed, but is transformed into another type of energy. For example, electrical energy can be transformed into light energy in order to light a light bulb.

The law of conservation of energy states that the energy possessed by any physical system remains unchanged over time until it is transformed into another type of energy. This is the foundation of the first law of thermodynamics, the branch of physics that studies the transfer of energy as heat.

The unit of measure for energy defined by the International System of Units is the joule or joule (J).

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Energy in technology and economics

In the area of ​​technology and economics, the term energy refers to sources of natural resources from which energy can be obtained, transformed and used. These resources are used in various industrial and economic areas to satisfy the production and consumption of goods and services.

Renewable energy sources can be distinguished, such as wind energy, hydraulic energy, solar energy; and non-renewable energy sources, such as coal, natural gas, oil, atomic energy.

Types of energy

There are two types of energy that are fundamental: potential energy and kinetic energy.

Potential energy

Potential energy

Plants transform solar energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis.

Potential energy or storage energy It is the energy that a body possesses depending on its position or condition with respect to another. This type of energy increases when bodies that attract each other are separated or, conversely, when bodies that repel each other come together. The area where bodies are attracted or repelled is called a force field.

examples of potential energy

  • Gravitational energy: When lifting an object from the ground, it separates from the Earth, but the gravitational force field attracts it to its center, hence when it is released it falls back to the ground.
  • Chemical energy: It is a type of stored potential energy that makes possible the union between atoms and that leads to the transformation of some compounds into others. Exothermic reactions (metabolism) and endothermic reactions (photosynthesis) derive from this type of energy.
  • Nuclear energy: It is the potential energy stored in the nucleus of the atom that holds the subatomic particles together, but when reacting transforms an atom into a different one. Nuclear energy can be obtained by nuclear fusion or nuclear fission, and it can be used to obtain electrical energy, among others.
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Kinetic energy

Kinetic energy

Vehicles move through the transformation of thermal energy into kinetic energy.

kinetic energy It is the energy generated by the movement of a body, and which in turn is affected by its mass and speed.. It is a type of energy that largely takes advantage of natural resources, for example, hydraulic energy is generated from water to obtain electricity.

examples of kinetic energy

  • Thermal energy: It has to do with the movement of the particles that make up a body, therefore, if there is a lot of movement, the greater the thermal energy.
  • Car movement: The thermal energy generated by fossil fuels is used to transform it into kinetic energy, which will allow the vehicle’s engine to work and move.
  • Roller coaster: as the roller coaster car begins its descent, it picks up speed, due to its weight and mass, until it reaches its maximum speed until it reaches an ascent of the track again.

See also What is heat?

natural energy sources

Wind power

Turbine from which wind energy can be obtained through the wind.

natural energy sources are those extracted through renewable or non-renewable resources, that is, energies obtained through elements in nature. Some examples are:

  • Solar energy: It is the one that is obtained from the radiation of the Sun on the Earth, and that goes through a process of transformation into electrical energy for its use. It is a clean and renewable energy.
  • Wind power: It is the energy obtained from the wind that produces electricity.
  • Hydraulic energy: It is the one that is obtained through the force of the fall of bodies of water. Also called hydropower or hydropower, the potential energy of waterfalls is transformed through turbines into electricity.
  • Geothermal energy: It is the one that is extracted from the internal heat of the Earth, from the subsoil. It is considered one of the cleanest renewable energies, since it has a minimum environmental and landscape impact.
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See also:

  • Types of energy
  • renewable resources