Skip to main content
Pearson+ LogoPearson+ Logo
Start typing, then use the up and down arrows to select an option from the list.


Learn the toughest concepts covered in Physics with step-by-step video tutorials and practice problems by world-class tutors

10. Conservation of Energy

Intro to Energy Types


Intro to Energy Types

Play a video:
Was this helpful?
Hey guys. So in the previous video we talked about lots of different energy types. We said that energy exists in many different forms in the universe and more importantly, it always gets shuffled or transformed between types. We have heat and light and sound and all that good stuff. So we're gonna be taking a look in much greater detail to some of these types of energies and do math with them. So in this video I just want to give you a brief overview of these kinds of types of energies. Let's check it out. It basically breaks down to two different subcategories. We have mechanical energy and non mechanical energy, which is kind of just a blanket term for everything that's not in the first group and it includes things like thermal energy, probably the biggest one that we'll talk about there is friction. So if you like rub your hands together that's friction and you generate heat. And then much later on we'll talk about things like electrical and nuclear and light and all that good stuff. So the ones that will be really focused on is mechanical energies. And that breaks down to two different subcategories as well. We have kinetic which is written by the simple K. And we have potential which is written by you and a quick way to understand mechanical energy is actually, this is the combination of your kinetic and potential energy. So let's talk about kinetic energy. This is really just the energy due to an object speed. So if you have some mass and you have some velocity or some speed, then you have some energy that's basically due to your motion. Now, potential energy will get back to this in just a second here also breaks down into two main types and we'll be taking a look at these as well. We have elastic which is sometimes called spring energy. We also have gravitational potential energy. So let's talk about springs. Um So an easy way to understand this is imagine that you have a box like this and you're pushing up against the box. And basically what happens is that you stored some energy because when you release your hand the spring pushes back on the box and then it shoots it out to the right like this. So what happens is by pushing up against the box, you've stored some elastic potential energy that's kind of like stored inside of the spring. And when you let go it gets released and the box finally has some speed and therefore it has some kinetic energy. So you've transferred elastic to kinetic energy. Alright, so elastic energy is really just due to a springs deformation, you're the compressing or stretching or something like that. Let's talk about gravitational potential energy. It's a similar idea except instead of due to compression it's due to actually an object height. So imagine that you take a box and you lift it way way above your head. You give it some initial heights like this and then you let it go. Well what happens is the force of gravity, your MG starts pushing or pulling this box down and as it does that it starts to gain some speed and it loses height. So at some point later it has a lower height like this but it's finally gain some speed. So here what you've done is you've basically stored some energy by lifting the box above your head and then gravity gives it you know, sort of some velocity as it pulls it down. So you stored some gravitational potential energy. And then as gravity pulls it down you're trading sort of heights as you go down. But you're picking up speed and so you're picking up kinetic energy. And so really there's actually something that's common between these two types of potential energy. So one way to think about potential energy is that you've kind of stored this energy that later on gets transferred to something else. And this is stored energy that's due to and objects position. So for springs it's either the deformation like the you know, so the deformation of the spring or for gravitational potential, it's due to the height above the floor. Alright, so this is actually really important because we're going to see that all of these energies gravitational elastic and even kinetic are all going to start to get sort of transferred between each other. All right, So that's basically it for this one. Guys let me know if you have any questions