potential energy

potential energy

Energy stored by an object by virtue of its position. For example, an object raised above the ground acquires potential energy equal to the work done against the force of gravity; the energy is released as kinetic energy when it falls back to the ground. Similarly, a stretched spring has stored potential energy that is released when the spring is returned to its unstretched state. Other forms of potential energy include electrical potential energy, chemical energy, and nuclear energy.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on potential energy, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up potential energy? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More