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Types of Energy

Types of Energy

Types of Energy

In this lesson we will discuss the different types of energy that exists, and when it may change to another.

This introduces you to 9 different forms of energy. Some of these forms can be stored. Others can't.

What type of energy do you think a piece of hot coal releases?

Now imagine a noisy loudspeaker. What kind of energy do you think is being emitted?

X-rays, microwaves, radio waves and ultraviolet radiation are all sources of electromagnetic (EM) energy. EM energy is all around us. It is emitted by the Sun. One form of EM energy allows us to see things. Which one do you think that is?

An accelerating car, a galloping horse and a flowing river all have kinetic energy. What might another name for kinetic energy be?

Another type of energy is carried by a current and used to power our houses. What do you think that form of energy is called?

Another form of energy is chemical energy. This is stored energy that can be converted into for example electrical energy. Which object can do that?

Electricity can also be generated in power stations with carefully controlled reactors. They use radioactive atoms. What form of energy is involved in this process?

The energy that keeps us from floating into space is gravitational potential energy (GPE). Due to the Earth's gravity, any object that is raised upwards gains GPE. If the object falls, this energy is converted into kinetic energy. Which of the following are example of objects with a lot of GPE?

You can select multiple answers

Lastly we have the energy that is stored in a stretched or compressed object, like a spring or a rubber band. What do you think we call that energy type?

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed! Instead, one type of energy can change into another. How do you think we could change some of the chemical energy in our bodies into kinetic and gravitational potential energy?

So that was the 9 main types of energy!


Heat (thermal) energy

This is emitted by any object that is hotter than its surroundings.


Sound energy

All noises are sound energy.


Electromagnetic (light) energy

The Sun is our main source of electromagnetic energy.


Kinetic (movement) energy

All moving things have kinetic energy.


Electrical energy

Found in electric circuits.


Chemical energy

A form of stored energy waiting to be released, for example food, fuel or explosives.


Nuclear energy

Released in nuclear reactions for example when an atom is split.


Gravitational potential energy (GPE)

Anything raised at a height with the potential to fall has GPE.


Elastic potential energy

Found in stretched or compressed objects.