If you have ever seen a kid swing on a trampoline, you would have noticed that energy is required to propel the device forward. What exactly is kinetic energy? Well, this energy is defined as the product of force and time; this concept is known as the law of conservation of energy. When an object expels energy, it loses momentum (which becomes energy), and when it absorbs energy, it becomes heavier.
Types of Energy Conversions
Kinetic energy is one of the three major types of energy sources that we are familiar with and can use on a daily basis. For example, any body has nonrenewable kinetic energy when it’s in motion. A spring or bow, while at rest, always has the possibility of producing motion; because of its configuration, it has potential energy due to its design. Although these energy sources cannot be depleted, they do have a maximum life span. There are many sources for this type of energy, including:
Photovoltaic systems convert light energy into electrical energy. An array of solar cells connected to a panel forms the photovoltaic panel. The sun’s rays are captured by the panels and converted into energy which the electrical company uses to produce electricity. The electrical energy generated by the panels can then be used to power homes and businesses.
Another type of renewable energy is thermal energy. This occurs through the transformation of kinetic energy (work done by an object) into thermal energy (energy stored by a material and moved across a medium). This type of energy is widely used in furnaces, boilers, and other forms of mechanical engineering work done in the home.
Energy Conversion during the Industrial Revolution
It is important to realize that there are two forms of renewable energy. Kinetic energy is directly converted from a source such as wind or sunlight into a direct current of electrical energy. Thermal energy is not directly converted. Instead, it is converted from kinetic energy (work done by an object) into heat energy (energy stored by a material). If energy is converted from one form to the other, then there is an energy loss.
All forms of renewable energy have one important thing in common. Any source of thermal or mechanical energy has potential energy. Potential energy is the energy that an object possesses at a given point in space. For example, if a car hits a wall, the car has potential energy. If the car were to push the wall, however, it would lose its energy since the car cannot exert energy on a solid substance.