What Is Energy?


What Is Energy?

Energy plays a crucial role in our lives. We need energy to think, breathe, move around and do everything in our daily life. We need energy for light, air, food, water, etc. The energy needs to be stored in some way. This storage can take place in three ways: food, tools and bodies.

There are many different forms of energy and they are, in fact, the result of the energy conversion process between two or more objects. The conversion process takes place in many different ways: heat and mechanical energy i.e., energy converted via gravitational force. Once it is converted, energy is designated as either kinetic energy or potential energy. Thus, mechanical energy used in movement is designated as potential energy and heat that is released by moving objects as heat is designated as gravitational energy.

To define a joule, one must first understand the nature of an energy molecule. An energy molecule consists of an atom, a nucleus, and neutrons. Atoms and neutrons have different charges and therefore, their constituent particles have different probabilities of being in various states; for example, one atom could be very high or very low in a particular orbital. The atomic weight of the atom determines the rate of which the atom can change its state and therefore the amount of energy that the atom can carry.

Kinetic energy, on the other hand, refers to the change in momentum (motion) due to the motion of any object. Any force acting on an object will cause it to change its state, for example, when you throw a ball towards a wall, the wall will change its state from a point A, to B, then back to A again, because of the momentum that is being transferred. So far so good, but what is the difference between kinetic energy and potential energy? Basically, it boils down to the fact that the former is completely defined by quantum mechanics, whereas the latter is not, and depends only on the initial condition of the system. Now, let’s define some terms that will help us understand this topic better:

Potential energy is the sum of all the different forms of energy that can be derived from heat: radiation, sound, electric, nuclear, etc. The amount of these energies is termed as the endothermic heat, and the amount of these energies needed to attain the temperature of the earth is known as the endothermic potential energy. Therefore, the term ‘potential’ is used here, as in the context of electrical energy and heat. If you take a battery, for example, and try to determine its capacity by weighing it, you would realize that it is not entirely possible to do so, as it is done in one form or another by all batteries. In the same way, the amount of heat needed to attain the temperature of the earth is known as endothermic heat, as well.

Kinetic energy on the other hand is not a form of heat or cold energy. It is something that comes from the motion of an object. This motion is endowed with energy, and the energy comes from the particles that make up the atom, and which are subject to repulsion or attraction due to the pull or push that is being put on them by their respective neighbors. The number of particles that are in motion is known as the number of proton, electron, proton, and neutron, which collectively constitute atoms. Now, once the atom gets together with its neighbor, the repulsion gives way to electromagnetic radiation, which is also known as the infrared radiation.