Types of Energy

Just like there are different forms of electricity, there are different types of energy too. The two main types of energy are:

  • Kinetic Energy
  • Potential Energy

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic Energy is energy that is in motion. Moving water and wind are good examples of kinetic energy. Electricity is also kinetic energy because even though you can't see it happen, electricity involves electrons moving in conductors.

Potential Energy

Energy is measured in the amount of "work" it does. Potential Energy is stored energy. Examples of potential energy are oil sitting in a barrel, or water in a lake in the mountains. This energy is referred to as potential energy, because if it were released, it would do a lot of work.

Energy can change from one form to another. A good example is a Roller Coaster. When it is on its way up, it is using kinetic energy since the energy is in motion. When it reaches the top it has potential (or stored) energy. When it goes down the hill it is using kinetic energy again.

Other Types of Energy

There are other types of energy as well:

  • Mechanical Energy is the energy of motion that does the work. An example of mechanical energy is the wind as it turns a windmill.
  • Heat energy is energy that is pushed into motion by using heat. An example is a fire in your fireplace.
  • Chemical Energy is energy caused by chemical reactions. A good example of chemical energy is food when it is cooked.
  • Electrical Energy is when electricity creates motion, light or heat. An example of electrical energy is the electric coils on your stove.
  • Gravitational Energy is motion that is caused by gravity. An example of gravitational energy is water flowing down a waterfall.