Kinetic, Potential, and the Conservation of

Conservation of Energy

  • The conservation of energy is a law stating the energy in a closed system is the same regardless of changes made to the system- another way of saying that energy can be neither created nor destroyed.
  • Energy can, however, change forms (mechanical, potential, kinetic, etc.)

Kinetic Energy

  • Kinetic energy is the type of energy an object has when it is in motion.
  • For example, a roller coaster car traveling on a track has kinetic energy.
  • Kinetic energy is a scalar quantity.

Potential Energy

  • Potential energy is defined as the stored energy that is a result of position, when an object's position is altered from its usual equilibrium position it has potential energy.
  • For example, a roller coaster cart at the top of a hill possesses potential energy.
  • There are two types of potential energy: gravitational potential energy (a result of a change in vertical or horizontal position) and elastic potential energy (a result of an object being stretched or compressed)

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