Potential Energy; Kinetic Energy

Potential energy

The word potential means that something is capable of becoming active. Potential energy sometimes is referred to as stored energy. This type of energy often comes from the position of an object relative to Earth. A diver on the high diving board has more energy than someone who dives into the pool from the low dive.

The formula to calculate the potential energy of an object is the mass of the object times the acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s2) times the height of the object


Did you notice that the mass of the object in kilograms times the acceleration of gravity (g) is the same as the weight of the object in newtons? Therefore you can think of an object’s potential energy as equal to the object’s weight multiplied by its height.

mass of the object(kilograms) times 9.8 m/s2 = weight of the object(newtons)


Potential Energy = weight of object times height of the object

Kinetic energy

Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. Kinetic energy depends on the mass of the object as well as the speed of that object. Just think of a large object moving at a very high speed. You would say that the object has a lot of energy. Since the object is moving, it has kinetic energy. The formula for kinetic energy is: