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What is energy?

What is energy?
Energy is one concepts that is difficult to define. Everyone knows that they have energy or do not have energy. Certainly everyone knows that energy has many forms such as heat, light and electricity. Here are some definition of energy:

The dictionary defines energy as a potential forces; capacity for action. In the study of physics, energy is defined as the capacity to do work and overcome resistance. Energy is a measure of the ability to do work. Energy talks about the ability to do work , but not only work it also gives us the ability to play. In fact we could just say that energy is the ability to do. It is the "stuff that makes things go."

Forms of Energy
Energy  exist in different forms such as electricity, light, sound, heat. gravitational. chemical and nuclear energy.  This energy can exist in either a stored form or it maybe moving from one point to another.  Energy in a stored form can also be referred to as potential energy.

Different energy forms are classified into seven groups as follows:
  • Mechanical Energy
It can be either energy of a force moving over a distance.
Examples: a torque applied to a rotating object or a kinetic energy (the energy of a moving body) or potential energy (e.g. compressed spring). Sound is also a form of mechanical energy.
  •  Electrical Energy
Energy associated with the flow or accumulation of electrons e.g. flow of electric current in a light globe produces light. Electrical energy can be stored in a capacitor
  •  Electromagnetic Energy
Energy associated with electromagnetic radiation. Television and radio broadcasters use this type of energy to transmit a signal to our television or radios. The energy in light is also electromagnetic energy, but of a much higher frequency. This includes radiant solar energy.
  • Chemical Energy
Energy involved in the bonding of atoms to form chemical molecules. When released as a result of chemical reactions, it appears as electrical or heat energy. This is the energy stored in fossil fuels. Batteries are another common way many of us use this type of energy. Wood stoves and fires also make use of chemical energy to produce heat.
  • Nuclear Energy
The energy associated with bonding of sub-atomic particles within the nucleus of atoms.
  • Thermal Energy
Energy commonly called heat. It is the energy associated with atomic and molecular vibration. It is a basic form into which all other forms can be completely converted. The use of heat for cooking or to heat our living space is fundamental to human civilisation.
  • Gravitational Energy
Energy stored in a body by virtue of its height above some other point. This is often called gravitational potential energy. Note that the force of gravity is not the same as gravitational energy. The energy is only released when the body is free to move.



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