Energy is the ability to cause a change or to do work. Stored energy is also known as potential energy. There are two main types of potential energy which we will discuss later on in the article. Although it’s easy to calculate potential energy using a formula, this potential energy calculator is a lot easier and more convenient to use.
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How to use the potential energy calculator?
Rather than manually compute the potential energy using a potential energy equation, this online calculator can do the work for you. To use it, follow these easy steps:
- First, enter the mass of the object and choose the unit of measurement from the drop-down menu. The mass can be in grams, kilograms, pounds, and ounces.
- Then select the unit for the gravitational acceleration, either g or m/s2. Making a choice will automatically generate the value for you.
- Finally, enter the height of the object and choose the unit of measurement from the drop-down menu. The height can be in millimeters, centimeters, meters, kilometers, inches, feet, yards, and miles.
- Entering the final amount would automatically generate the value of the potential energy.
How to calculate potential energy?
Of course, the easiest way to calculate the value of potential energy is to use this potential energy calculator. You can also call this an online joules calculator because the that’s the unit of measurement you’ll get for the final value. But if you want to perform the calculation manually, you can use the potential energy formula:
PE grav. = m * h * g
m – refers to the mass
h – refers to the height
g – refers to the gravitational field strength (9.81 m/s2 on Earth)
What is the formula for height in potential energy?
So that you can use the potential energy calculator, you need to have all the values in the formula mentioned above. Without the height, mass, and acceleration of gravity, you can’t use the calculator to generate the value for the potential energy. Therefore, you need to acquire these values using the following formulas:
height: m = E .
m * g
mass: m = E .
g * z
acceleration of gravity: g = E .
m * z
What are 5 examples of potential energy?
By now you should have a better understanding of how to use the potential energy calculator. Potential energy refers to the energy that an object possesses when its position relative to another object. Therefore, when you’re standing at the top of the stairs, you possess more potential energy than when you stand at the bottom of the same stairs. Later on, we’ll talk discuss other examples of this type of energy.
The potential energy formula would depend on the force that acts on the objects. There are two main types of potential energy namely gravitational potential energy and elastic potential energy. Let’s discuss these types further:
Gravitational Potential Energy
This type of potential energy refers to the energy that an object has due to its height or its vertical position. There is storage of energy within the object because of the Earth’s gravitational attraction for that particular object. For instance, the gravitational potential energy of a huge demolition ball would depend on two different variables. These are the ball’s mass and the height to which the machine operator raises it.
This shows that there’s a direct relationship between an object’s mass and its gravitational potential energy. More massive or bigger objects would have greater gravitational energy compared to objects with a smaller mass. Also, the higher you would elevate an object, the greater its gravitational potential energy would be too. You can compute this using the following formula:
PEgrav = mass * g * height
Elastic Potential Energy
This is the second major type of potential energy. This refers to the energy that’s stored in materials with elastic properties when their either compressed or stretched. You can find elastic potential energy in objects such as springs, trampolines, bungee cords, rubber bands, and much more. The amount of elastic potential energy that such an object stores is directly related to how much it’s compressed or stressed. The more you stretch or compress an object, the more energy it stores. You can compute this type of energy using the same potential energy equation as that for gravitational potential energy.
A special type of object which stores elastic potential energy is a spring. This is because you can compress it as well as stretch it. You need force to compress a spring, the more amount of compression there is, the more force you need to press the spring further. For certain types of springs, the amount of force needed has a direct proportion to the amount of compression or stretch (x). Also, there is a constant of proportionality referred to as the spring constant (k). To get the elastic potential energy of a spring, use this formula:
Fspring = k * x
It’s said that springs follow “Hooke’s Law.” Unless a spring is either compressed or stretched, it won’t store any elastic potential energy. In this state, the spring would be in an equilibrium position. In terms of the potential energy, the equilibrium position is also known as the zero-potential energy position. You can also use this formula:
PEspring = 0.5 • k • x2
k – refers to the spring constant
x – refers to the amount of compression in relation to the equilibrium position
To understand potential energy further, there are some examples:
- A rock that sits at the edge of a cliff has potential energy. If it falls down, the potential energy will get transformed into kinetic energy.
- If you stretched a rubber band and held it in place, it has potential energy until you release it.
- The branches of a tree also have potential energy since they can potentially fall to the ground when they break.
- When you wind up the key of a wind-up toy, the spring inside the toy has potential energy until you release it and it starts moving.
- The food that we eat also has potential energy which gets released as soon as it gets digested by our body.