What is Potential Energy

Potential energy is a concept of physics. Energy of the body with respect to its position or according to its arrangement of particles is known as the potential energy. The concept of potential energy is applied in many fields of study. Some of the fields of study in which the potential energy is applied are mentioned below: –

  • Gravitational potential energy
    The potential energy that is present in the gravitational force is known as the gravitational potential energy. In the universe, when an object moves from one position to another, the influence of the gravity does persist. This is known as the potential energy of the gravitational force. The movement of the object from one position to another reduces the potential energy of the gravitational force. The mass, potency of the gravitational field and the height of the object are some of the factors that determine the gravitational potential energy.
  • Elastic potential energy
    The potential energy that is created in an elastic object is known as the elastic potential energy. This potential energy is created during the tension and the compression of the elastic object. The elasticity occurs mainly because of the electromagnetic force that exists between the atoms and molecules, which strive to bring back the object to the same position. Here the elastic potential energy during compression is converted to kinetic energy. For example, a spring when stretched to cause tension; comes back to its normal position with force. The energy formed here is elastic potential energy. 
  • Chemical potential energy
    This is a form of potential energy that is created due to the structural arrangement of atoms. Here the chemical energy that is formed by atoms is transformed in other energy forms with the help of chemical reactions. For example, in nature plants converts the solar energy to a chemical energy from the process of photosynthesis. Other practical example is the burning of fuel, where the chemical energy in the fuel is converted to heat energy.
  • Electric potential energy
    The potential energy that is produced due to an electric charge is known as the electric potential energy. The different types of electric potential energy are the electrostatic and the other is the magnetic potential energy.
  • Nuclear potential energy
    Nuclear potential energy can be considered the most powerful form of potential energy which is created inside a atomic nucleus due to the movement of the particles.

There are many uses by understanding the various forms of potential energy. The formation of hydroelectricity is possible because of the understanding of gravitational potential energy. Further researches are conducted for better understanding of the potential energy to help mankind.