Energy is the capacity of a system to do work. That system may be a jet, carrying hundreds of passengers
across the ocean. A baby’s body, growing bone cells. A kite, rising on the wind. Or a wave of light
crossing a space.
In moving or growing, each of these systems is doing work, and using energy. Every living organism
does work, and needs energy from food or photosynthesis. Humans also create machines that do work for
them, and that derive energy from fuels.
Some of the many forms that energy takes are:

 Mechanical energy, which includes
- Potential energy, stored in a system.
- Kinetic energy, from the movement of matter.
 Radiant or solar energy, which comes from the light and warmth of the sun.
 Thermal energy, associated with the heat of an object.
 Chemical energy, stored in the chemical bonds of molecules.
 Electrical energy, associated with the movement of electrons.
 Electromagnetic energy, associated with light waves (including radio waves, microwaves, x-rays,
infrared waves).
 Mass (or nuclear) energy, found in the nuclear structure of atoms.
Energy, Work & Power
The concept of energy is central to physics, as many times the analysis of a system's
motion involves understanding how energy is changing. The change in energy is
known as work, and the work done over a given period of time is known as power.
What is Kinetic Energy?
Kinetic energy is the energy of motion, a concept which is used widely in physics to
solve problems involving changes in motion.
Gravitational Potential Energy
Gravitational potential energy represents the energy that is "stored" in the
gravitational field due to an object's position within that field. It is a useful tool for
simplifying and solving many problems involving motion, especially those related to
free-falling objects.
What is "work" in physics?
In physics, "work" is when a force applied to an object moves the object in the
same direction as the force.The force is a measure of the mass of an object times its
change in motion, or acceleration. This is measured in newtons. The amount of work
done is measured in joules.
If someone pushes against a wall, no work is done on the wall because it does not
move. However, depressing a letter on a computer keyboard requires work.
In physics, the equation for work is W = f x d. This means work equals force times
The work done to a system by non-conservative forces (W
) can be described as
either positive work or negative work. Positive work is done on a system when the
force doing the work acts in the direction of the motion of the object. Negative work
is done when the force doing the work opposes the motion of the object. When a
positive value for work is substituted into the work-energy equation above, the final
amount of energy will be greater than the initial amount of energy; the system is said
to have gained mechanical energy. When a negative value for work is substituted
into the work-energy equation above, the final amount of energy will be less than
the initial amount of energy; the system is said to have lost mechanical energy. There
are occasions in which the only forces doing work are conservative forces
(sometimes referred to as internal forces). Typically, such conservative forces include
gravitational forces, elastic or spring forces, electrical forces and magnetic forces.
When the only forces doing work are conservative forces, then the W
term in the
equation above is zero. In such instances, the system is said to have conserved its
mechanical energy.The proper approach to work-energy problem involves carefully
reading the problem description and substituting values from it into the work-energy
equation listed above. Inferences about certain terms will have to be made based on a
conceptual understanding of kinetic and potential energy.