What is Energy? Meaning of Energy or Definition of Energy
The meaning of energy or definition of energy differs and so its meaning is based on different contexts in which it is used. Generally, energy is the ability for a body or system to perform work.
Types of Energy or Forms of Energy
There are different types of energy. In the course of this article the different forms of energy identified are as follows.
This is a type of energy made of potential energy and kinetic energy. While potential energy is energy due to position (stored energy) on the other hand kinetic energy is energy due to motion or commonly referred to as energy in motion (energy of movement). It should be noted that potential energy exist in different three force fields. The first force field in which potential energy exist is gravitational fields and the energy derived from this field is called gravitational energy (the energy stored in objects when above the earth’s surface). The second force field is electrostatic field which give rise to electrostatic potential energy or electric potential energy which according to Wikipedia is defined as a potential energy, measured in joules, that results from conservative Coulomb forces and is associated with the configuration of a particular set of point charges within a defined system. The third potential energy field is the magnetic field that give rise to what can be called the magnetic energy which is energy that causes push or pull as observed in magnetic attraction(due to unlike charges) and magnetic repulsion(due to like charges). Potential energy also exist in springs which has elastic properties of compression and extension. Thus the potential energy in springs is called elastic potential energy which form the basis of Hook’s law which states that the force needed to extend or compress a spring by any distance is proportional to that distance.
This is the energy due to movement of particles resulting to electrical charges moving through electrical wires.
This is a type of energy that is detected by eyes. It is a type of radiant energy.
This is the energy due to sound detected by the ear. It is an energy generated and propagated by mechanical vibrations through any mechanical medium.
This is the type of energy that exist on surface and this type of energy is proportional to the surface area as seen in surface tension.
This is energy due to temperature changes of which temperature is a measure of the degree of hotness or coldness of a body or system. It is energy of moving particles (heat).
This is the type of energy that is found in molecules. It includes energy that is stored in food which acts as fuel for the body.
Nuclear energy is energy found in the centres of particles resulting from nuclear reaction as either nuclear fission, nuclear fusion or radioactive decay. It is also called atomic energy because it is released from the nucleus of atoms. This can be used in generating electricity.
Sources of Energy or Energy Sources
Sources of energy or energy sources refers to how and where the different types of energy are derived. There are two sources of energy- primary energy sources (primary energy) and secondary energy sources (secondary energy). Primary energy is the form of energy that is found in nature which has not been transformed or converted to other forms of energy. Primary energy are converted by energy systems to yield secondary energy which are carried by energy carriers. Primary energy can be renewable energy and non-renewable energy. Renewable energy is the energy that can be replenished or regenerated. Examples of renewable energy are solar energy (energy from the sun), wind energy (energy from the wind), hydro energy, hydro power or hydroelectric energy which is also called tidal energy (energy resulting from falling of water and flowing of water with the help of gravitational energy), biomass energy(energy derived from living organisms or recently living organisms such as plants and animals. Biofuels are derived from biomass) and geothermal energy(thermal energy generated and stored in the earth and geothermal energy determines the temperature of matter). The nonrenewable energy sources are fossil energy which yields fossil fuels (petroleum or crude oil and natural gas and coal) and mineral energy which yields mineral fuels (natural uranium). All these are made possible by the quest for energy development to produce conventional energy sources, alternative energy sources or renewable energy sources for energy recovery and energy reuse to prevent waste of energy.
Difference Between Energy and Work; Difference Between Energy and Power; Difference Between Work and Power
Although energy, work and power are kind of related and so some people assume they are the same. It is important to emphasize here that there are differences between energy and work, differences between energy and power or differences between work and power. Energy is the capacity of a body or system to do work and this ability to do work come from different sources as highlighted already. Energy is to total amount of work done. Work is the force exerted in transferring in energy through a given distance. Power is the rate of generating, producing or utilizing energy in a given time. In other words while energy measures the quantity of work done, on the other hand power measures how fast the work is done or power is the rate of doing work. Simply put, energy is ability to do work, work is energy exerted per distance while power is energy per unit time. The standard units used in measuring energy and work are Joules. Other units of energy are newton-metres and calories. The standard unit for measuring electrical power is watts. On this note, it is important to emphasize that work, energy and power are not the same.
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