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Potential & Kinetic Energy

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All energy can be in one of two states:  potential energy or kinetic energy.

Energy can be transferred from potential to kinetic and between objects.

Potential energy is stored energy--energy ready to go.  A lawn mower filled with gasoline, a car on top of a hill, and students waiting to go home from school are all examples of potential energy. 

Gravitational potential energy is the energy possessed by a body because of its elevation (height) relative to a lower elevation, that is, the energy that could be obtained by letting it fall to a lower elevation.  For example, water at the top of a waterfall or stored behind a dam at a hydroelectric plant has gravitational potential energy.

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Potential and kinetic energy

Click on the car to see kinetic energy.