# Potential energy examples

Potential energy is the energy stored in an object due to its position or state. It can exist in various forms like gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy, and chemical potential energy. The amount of potential energy an object has is determined by its position relative to other objects or reference points. When the object changes its position, this stored energy can be transformed into other forms, such as kinetic energy, as the object moves.

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## Examples

### Spring

A compressed spring holds potential energy as a result of its deformation. This potential energy is stored within the spring, ready to be released when the spring is allowed to return to its original, undeformed state. The amount of potential energy is directly proportional to the degree of deformation, showcasing the dynamic relationship between the spring’s compression and its potential to perform mechanical work once released.

### Inflated balloon

The stretched rubber of an inflated balloon contains potential energy, as it stores the energy derived from the applied force used to stretch it. This potential energy is a result of the elastic properties of the rubber, which allow it to deform and store energy temporarily. The more the rubber is stretched, the greater the potential energy it holds. When released, this stored energy is converted into kinetic energy, causing the balloon to snap back to its original shape.

### Rock

The potential energy within a rock perched at the edge of a cliff is a result of its elevated position above the ground. This potential energy is gravitational in nature, as the rock has the stored ability to do work due to its height relative to the ground. The higher the rock is above the ground, the greater its potential energy. This stored energy becomes evident when the rock is allowed to fall, as it converts its potential energy into kinetic energy, accelerating towards the Earth under the influence of gravity.

### Stretched bow

The potential energy in the stretched string of a bow is a result of its displacement from its equilibrium position. When the bowstring is drawn back, work is done against its natural state of rest, storing potential energy in the form of elastic potential energy. The more the string is stretched, the greater the potential energy stored. This stored energy is ready to be transformed into kinetic energy when the arrow is released, propelling it forward.

### Hanging fruit

The potential energy within a fruit hanging on a tree branch is a consequence of its elevated position above the ground. This potential energy is gravitational, as the fruit possesses stored energy due to its height. The higher the fruit is suspended from the ground, the greater its potential energy. This stored energy becomes evident when the fruit falls, as gravity acts on it, converting its potential energy into kinetic energy as it descends.

### Wrecking ball

The potential energy within a wrecking ball is a result of its elevated position above the ground. This potential energy is gravitational, as the ball holds stored energy based on its height. The higher the wrecking ball is lifted, the greater the potential energy it possesses. This stored energy is significant in demolition scenarios, where the wrecking ball is released to swing and transfer its potential energy into kinetic energy, delivering a powerful impact.

### Snow

The potential energy in the snow on a snow-capped mountain is a consequence of its elevated position and gravitational potential. The snow, situated at a higher altitude, possesses stored energy that is directly proportional to its height above a reference point. This potential energy becomes apparent when the snow descends, as gravity acts on it, converting potential energy into kinetic energy. The mountainous terrain serves as a natural example of the relationship between gravitational potential energy and the vertical position of an object, in this case, the potential energy inherent in the snow.

### Roller coaster

The potential energy within the wagon of a roller coaster is a result of its elevated position on the track. This potential energy is gravitational, as the wagon holds stored energy due to its height relative to a reference point, often the ground. The higher the wagon is positioned on the track, the greater its potential energy. This stored energy becomes crucial during the ride, as the wagon descends, converting potential energy into kinetic energy, propelling the roller coaster forward.

## Image credit

• The stock photos used in this post are sourced from platforms like Pexels, Pixabay, Canva, etc. Due to the age of the images, their specific origins remain unknown.