Types of Energy
In physics, energy is a unique property of matter which is able to be transferred from one state to another. Simply put, energy is the power of a material (like rock, plastic) to do work (like pushing parts together) and changing the state of an object (like sitting on a couch). If you’ve ever observed an engine on a car, or an air-plane flying through the sky, then you have some idea of just how incredible energy can be. Energy is literally the power of the world!
Energy is unique among the elements because it exists in various forms at different temperatures. For example, there is thermal energy that can be converted to electrical energy, and this conversion occurs instantaneously when heat is applied to one part of an object. This form of energy is also known as potential energy, because it can be changed into this form without any work on the part of the material being changed. However, there are more exotic forms of energy. Chemical energy, for example, can be changed into mechanical energy, electrical energy and thermal energy, among others.
One of the most common forms of energy is nuclear energy. Nuclear energy, because it is made up of very small particles, is extremely fast, with energies ranging in the thousands of volts per meter. There are two types of nuclear energy, and they are used to power different aspects of our technology today. There is the fission of an atom, where a nucleus splits into bits and starts blowing apart – turning one bit into another as it goes. This kind of energy is very powerful, but it takes an incredibly long amount of time to complete the process and so is not suited to be a primary source of energy for portable devices or machinery.
The other kind of energy is that produced by collisions of molecules. These collisions happen when molecules come into contact with each other, emitting heat and radiation in the process. We are able to harness this kind of energy through the use of a chain reaction, where some atoms get hit with an electric current, causing the electrons in their orbitals to split. The number of these electrons determines how much energy can be produced, and this in turn determines its strength and frequency. The higher the number of collisions, the stronger the atom or molecule, and the faster the electrons move.
Bio-based renewable energy can also be harnessed through collisions of molecules. This kind of energy has a number of advantages over mechanical energy, mainly because of the fact that there is no ongoing expenditure of energy. The only outlay is the effort required to move molecules around. As well as this, bio-based energy sources do not cause any pollution, unlike their mechanical counterparts. They are also thought to have a lifespan of hundreds of years, which is a considerable advantage over some of the other options on offer.
There are many forms of potential energy out there that scientists and researchers are trying to find a way of harnessing. One of the ways in which this research is helping us to harness the potential energy is by the use of what is known as a kinetic energy battery. This is made up of two metal plates, where one acts as a source of potential energy, whilst the other is charged with a low level of electricity. When the plate is moved by some sort of kinetic energy, the electrons in the surrounding area pick up energy and this transfers them to the battery’s wire. This in turn provides energy which can then be used to power things in your home.