Definition

potential energy (U)

Part of the Electronics glossary:

Potential energy, expressed in science as U , is energy that is stored within an object, not in motion but capable of becoming active. When at rest, every object has rest mass potential energy; if the object is in a position to be affected by gravity and to fall, it has gravitational potential energy. Once an object is in motion, potential energy is converted to kinetic energy , which is the energy of motion.

There are a number of kinds of potential energy. The pendulum of a clock, at the top of its swing, has gravitational potential energy which is converted to kinetic energy as it falls. Elastic potential energy is present in an object that can be stretched out and rebound, like an elastic. The potential energy is stored when an elastic is stretched, and converted to kinetic energy when the elastic is released. Other types of potential energy include chemical, which is related to the formation of chemical bonds and electrical, expressed as voltage .

This was last updated in March 2011
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • media center PC

    - A media center PC is a dedicated computer connected to the user's digital TV. The computer components are typically chosen for characteristics such as low power consumption, low heat dissipation, i... (WhatIs.com)

  • geo-fencing (geofencing)

    - Geo-fencing is a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. A geofence is a virtual barr... (WhatIs.com)

  • bandwidth

    - Definition: Learn what bandwidth is and how the term is used as a synonym for signal frequency range, data transfer rate and capacity. (SearchEnterpriseWAN.com)

Glossaries

  • Electronics

    - Terms related to electronics, including definitions about electrical components and words and phrases about computers, laptops parts, digital cameras, televisions and home appliances.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About potential energy (U)Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.