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kinetic & potential energy

Potential and Kinetic Energy
Image: istockphoto/sb-borg

Potential and Kinetic Energy

A law of physics says energy is never destroyed, it just changes its state: from potential to kinetic and back again.

A law of cartoon physics says Wile E. Coyote is never destroyed, either, as he tries to catch the roadrunner.But he does a great job of illustrating potential and kinetic energy, as do the sites below.

Warner Brothers
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Coaster Creator

Coaster Creator

If you know enough about kinetic and potential energy to build a roller coaster that won't get stuck or crash, you win this game. If not...oh, oh. More...

Game
The Jason Project
Potential Energy

Potential Energy

A wrecking ball ready to swing and a bow ready to shoot possess different forms of potential energy. Get the details here. More...

Article
The Physics Classroom
The BrainStrainer

The BrainStrainer

Do you have what it takes to build a successful rocket launcher? Put your knowledge of projective motion, potential energy, kinetic energy, and gravity to the test in this fun game. More...

Game
IHS Engineering
Kinetic Energy

Kinetic Energy

Want to move beyond the basic math? To physicists, if a truck hits you, it does work on you — and kinetic energy is a measurement of how much work it does. Get your equations here. More...

Article
HyperPhysics
Kinetic and Potential Energy

Kinetic and Potential Energy

If the idea of kinetic energy confuses you, let Zog the caveman come to your rescue in this video. More...

Video
Phoenix Learning Group
Energy Skate Park

Energy Skate Park

Get a real feel for energy, friction, and gravity. Build a virtual skate park and see what happens when a skater uses it on Earth, the Moon, Jupiter, or in space.


More...

Interactive
PhET
Hydropower

Hydropower

Want a simple explanation of how the kinetic energy of moving water is turned into electrical energy? Then watch this video. More...

Video
The Science Museum, London
Potential & Kinetic Energy Quiz

Potential & Kinetic Energy Quiz

Want to brush up on potential and kinetic energy before that big test? Try this quiz. More...

Interactive
SoftSchools.com
Real World: Law of Conservation of Energy

Real World: Law of Conservation of Energy

In this video, NASA turns to you to figure out the kinetic energy of rovers racing across Mars. Your reward: a clear explanation of the conservation law. More...

Video
NASA
Watt’s a Joule?

Watt’s a Joule?

Looking for a clear and fun explanation of energy, work, and power, including electric power? You found it. More...

Article
Exploratorium
Work, Energy, and Power

Work, Energy, and Power

Work, energy, and power all go into a slapshot, which can turn a hockey puck into a missile speeding along at 100 miles per hour (about 160 kph). You'll learn about slapshots and science here. More...

Video
National Science Foundation/NBC
Electric Potential

Electric Potential

Rubbing against your hair, a balloon may pick up a charge of 5,000 volts! Why doesn't it kill you? To understand that, you need to understand electrical potential. More...

Video
Hewitt-Drew-It!
Energeia

Energeia

What is energy, anyway? And how do states of energy differ from forms of energy? Find out here. More...

Article
SECO - Texas
Energy and Matter

Energy and Matter

All energy — whether in food, an electric wire, or a falling glass — is either potential or kinetic. Watch the video, then challenge yourself with the quiz. More...

Video
Scholastic
7 Essential Principles of Energy

7 Essential Principles of Energy

This video series starts with "energy is a physical quantity that follows precise natural laws" and ends with "the quality of life of individuals and societies is affected by energy choices." More...

Video
U.S. Department of Energy
Bosch Regenerative Braking

Bosch Regenerative Braking

Ordinary braking cars turn their kinetic energy into useless heat energy. Braking hybrid or electric cars, by contrast, turn their kinetic energy into electrical energy. Very useful. More...

Video
Bosch
Kinetic and Potential Energy in a Roller Coaster

Kinetic and Potential Energy in a Roller Coaster

On a roller coaster, the energy you have at the top of the curve (potential energy), soon turns into kinetic energy, as you plunge to the bottom. That turns into potential energy again as you rise — all of which turns into a lot of screaming. More...

Video
KET
Roller Coaster Marbles: Converting Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy

Roller Coaster Marbles: Converting Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy

Build your own roller coaster and watch your passengers — marbles — turn their potential energy into hurtling speed. More...

Activity
Science Buddies

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