Kinetic and Potential Energy

Learning about these two forms of energy is extremely important in understanding why man can obtain the usable energy from things like waterfalls and spinning turbines. Power plants serve to convert these physical forms of energy into energy to run our TVs and cook food in the microwave -- electricity!

Kinetic Energy (KE) is the name for energy associated with moving objects. A good way to remember this is by the formula KE=(1/2)mv2, where "m" is the mass of the object and "v" is the velocity of the object. If you remember the formula, you will remember that Kinetic Energy is dependent upon velocity and

mass, and thus has to do with moving objects.

Potential Energy (PE) is the name for energy stored in an object--or, the "potential" of an object to do work. For instance, a rock at the top of a cliff has more potential energy than one on the ground, because you could drop the rock off of the cliff and hit something below (converting the potential energy to kinetic).