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Flashcards in Forms of Energy Deck (9)
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The energy of an object's position.

Potential Energy

Example: When a child swinging on a swing reaches the top of the arc, she has maximum potential energy. When she is closest to the ground, her potential energy is at its minimum (0). Another example is throwing a ball into the air. At the highest point, the potential energy is greatest. As the ball rises or falls it has a combination of potential and kinetic energy.


The energy of sound waves. Sound waves travel through the air or another medium.

Sonic Energy

Example: A sonic boom, a song played on a stereo, your voice


The energy of motion of a body. It ranges from 0 to a positive value.

energy which a body possesses by virtue of being in motion.

Kinetic Energy

Example: An example is a child swinging on a swing. No matter whether the swing is moving forward or backward, the value of the kinetic energy is never negative.


Form of energy that binds electrons to the nucleus of its atom, ion, or molecule

Ionization Energy

Example: The first ionization energy of an atom is the energy needed to remove one electron completely. The second ionization energy is energy to remove a second electron and is greater than that required to remove the first electron.


Reflects the temperature difference between two systems.

Thermal Energy

Example: A cup of hot coffee has thermal energy. You generate heat and have thermal energy with respect to your environment.


Energy which involves the attraction between two objects based on their mass. It can serve as a basis for mechanical energy, such as the potential energy of an object placed on a shelf.

Gravitational Energy

Example: Gravitational energy holds the atmosphere to the Earth


Energy from light or electromagnetic waves.


Electromagnetic Energy, aka Radient Energy

Example: Any form of light has electromagnetic energy, including parts of the spectrum we can't see. Radio, gamma rays, x-rays, microwaves, and ultraviolet light are some examples of electromagnetic energy.


Energy that results from movement or the location of an object. It is the sum of kinetic energy and potential energy.

Mechanical Energy

Examples: An object possessing mechanical energy has both kinetic and potential energy, although the energy of one of the forms may be equal to zero. A moving car has kinetic energy. If you move the car up a mountain, it has kinetic and potential energy. A book sitting on a table has potential energy


Energy resulting from changes in the atomic nuclei or from reactions.

Nuclear Energy

Example: Nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, and nuclear decay are examples of nuclear energy. An atomic detonation or power from a nuclear plant are specific examples of this type of energy.