Forms of Energy

By: Kallie Poor


  • Thermal
  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Nuclear

Thermal Energy

Thermal energy is all the kinetic energy due to random motion of the particles that make up an object. Particles move faster at higher temperatures than at lower temperatures, but it also depends on the number of particles that it contains. You will have greater kinetic energy and greater thermal energy, the faster the particles move.

(The oven heats up the pot causing the temperature to rise in the water)

Chemical Energy

Chemical energy is the energy of a compound that changes as its atoms are rearranged. Chemical energy comes from the food you eat. Your body, also, uses chemical energy to function. Lastly, chemical energy is a form of potential energy

(Photosynthesis uses light energy to make new substances that have chemical energy)

Electrical Energy

Electrical energy is the energy of moving electrons. Electrons are the negatively charged particles of atoms. The electrical energy used in your home comes from power plants. Electrical energy can be considered as potential energy. In a hair dryer, electrical energy is changed into thermal energy that is used to dry your hair.

(The electrons in the wires will transfer electrical energy to houses to power them)

Sound Energy

Sound energy is energy caused by an object's vibrations. When you pull on a guitar string, the string stores potential energy. When you let the string go, the potential energy is turned into kinetic energy, which makes the string vibrate. The string transmits some of the kinetic energy to the air which makes the air particles vibrate. The vibration transmits this energy to your ear, so you hear the guitar.

(As the guitar strings vibrate, they cause particles in the air to vibrate. These vibrations transmit sound energy)

Light Energy

Light energy is produced by the vibrations of electrically charged particles. Light vibrations cause energy to be transmitted, but the vibrations that transmit light energy don't need to be carried through matter. Light energy can move through a vacuum.

(Light energy is produced when the wire filament in the bulb vibrates)

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is the energy that comes from changes in the nucleus of an atom. The energy given off by the sun comes from nuclear energy. Without he nuclear energy from the sun, life on Earth wouldn't be possible. Fission is when a nucleus of a heavy element such as uranium is split apart, that the potential energy in the nucleus is given off. Fission is used to generate electrical energy at nuclear power plants.

(Fission is a kind of nuclear energy which generates electrical energy at nuclear power plants)


  • Physical Science Textbook
  • What Is Energy and Energy Conversions worksheet
  • Notes