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Q:

# What is potential energy?

A:

Potential energy is defined as the energy possessed by a body due to its position or height above the surface of the Earth. Water stored in a dam has potential energy. This potential energy has the capacity to do work.

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When water falls from a height, its potential energy is used to rotate turbines that generate electricity. Any object falling from a height can cause damage on impact due its potential energy.

When an object is stationary at a height, it possesses potential energy only. When it moves downwards due to the gravitational pull of the Earth, some of the potential energy begins to transform into kinetic energy.

The formula for calculating potential energy is PE = mgh. In this equation, m refers to the mass of the body, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and h is the object's height above the Earth.

The international standard unit for measuring energy is the joule.

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## Related Questions

• A:

Motion is defined as the action of changing position or location. Motion, along with force and energy, are concepts relevant to mechanics, a subject of physics. Within mechanics, there is a more specific field of study called kinematics, and this is the most basic level of mechanics.

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• A:

Elastic potential energy is the energy stored from an elastic object being stretched or compressed. It equals the amount of work that was done to stretch the object. The equation for elastic potential energy is PE=1/2kx2, where "PE" is the potential energy, "k" is a spring constant and "x" is the displacement.

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• A:

Gravitational potential energy depends on the mass of the object, acceleration because of gravity and the height of the object from a zero position, which is typically the ground or surface where the object is resting. This is because potential energy is the amount of energy stored in an object due to its position and represents the potential for a force, such as gravity, to do work on the object.