Energy implies as the object’s capability to perform work. It is something that cannot be created or destroyed but can only be transformed. An object loses its energy, when it performs work, whereas it gains energy when the work is performed on it. Energy is broadly classified as kinetic energy and potential energy. While kinetic energy is the energy which an object contains because of a particular motion. On the other hand, potential energy is the stored energy, because of its state of rest. As both the two forms of energy are measured in joules, people get easily confused between these two. So, take a read of the article which will help you to understand the differences between kinetic and potential energy.
Content: Kinetic Energy Vs Potential Energy
|Basis for Comparison||Kinetic Energy||Potential Energy|
|Meaning||Kinetic energy refers to an energy present in the object, due to its property of being in motion.||The energy, contained in an object by virtue of its position, is called potential energy.|
|Transferability||Can be transferred between objects.||Cannot be transferred between objects.|
|Measured from||Place itself||Bottom|
|Environment-relative||Relative to the environment of the object.||Non-relative to the environment of the object.|
|Equation||0.5 mv^2, where m = mass and v = speed||mgh, where m = mass, g = gravity and h = height|
Definition of Kinetic Energy
Simply put, the energy of motion is kinetic energy. The work required for accelerating the object of a certain mass, from the state of rest to motion. To speed up an object, we apply force, through which energy is transferred from one object to another, causing the object to move at a new and constant speed. The energy transferred is called kinetic energy, determined by speed and mass of the object, i.e. the greater the mass and speed, the more kinetic energy it contains.
The kinetic energy of an object, in motion, with a certain velocity, is same as the work performed on it. All the objects that are in motion or action, irrespective of horizontal or vertical motion, possess kinetic energy. It is the energy which an object acquires, owing to its state of motion. For example, Falling of coconut, flowing of a river, moving of car or bus, etc. The different forms of kinetic energy are:
- Vibrational Energy
- Rotational Energy
- Translational Energy
Definition of Potential Energy
The term potential energy implies the energy which is stored in an object, at rest, as a consequence of its position relative to a zero position. The energy is stored within the physical body, due to overcoming forces of nature. It is present in every object which has a position, and mass within a force field. For example, Notebook on the table, ball at the top of the hill, stretched rubber band, etc.
When the state of the object changes from rest to motion, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. It forces the object to come back at its initial position, i.e. state of rest because it works counter to any displacement, this is why it is known as restoring energy. With the increase in the speed of the moving object, the potential energy decreases, and vice versa. The various types of potential energy are:
- Gravitational Energy
- Elastic Energy
- Electrical Energy
- Chemical Energy
- Nuclear Energy
Key Differences Between Kinetic and Potential Energy
The points given below are noteworthy, so far as the difference between kinetic and potential energy is concerned:
- The energy concerned with the objects in motion or action is called kinetic energy. Potential energy is defined as the energy contained in the object, as a result of its state of rest.
- Kinetic energy can be transferred between objects. On the other hand, potential energy cannot be transferred between objects.
- While kinetic energy is measured from the place itself, potential energy is measured from the bottom.
- Kinetic energy is relative to the environment of the moving body. As against this, potential energy is non-relative to the environment of the physical body.
- Kinetic energy can be determined by speed/velocity or mass of the object in motion. Conversely, the factors that ascertain potential energy are mass, gravity and height/distance of the object.
To summarise it, we can say that potential energy is one that is concerned with the position while kinetic energy focuses on the motion. The former, is ready for release, while the latter, is already on the move. Kinetic energy relies on two factors which are the speed and mass of the object, but potential energy is based on the position and condition of the object.