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Kinetic Energy Concerns Movement of Matter

by Ron Kurtus (revised 9 October 2014)

A moving object is said to have kinetic energy that can be transferred to another object. The motion can be translational (in a straight or curved line), according to the equation KE = ½ mv². This equation is valid provided that the speed of the object does not approach the speed of light.

Kinetic energy can also be rotational about an axis or as a vibration.

Motion and kinetic energy can be a direct result of a force can be applied to a object. Also, releasing potential energy can create kinetic energy, such as with springs and chemical reactions. Most forms of energy where material is moving are kinetic energy.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions. Useful tool: Units Conversion



Translational kinetic energy

Most of the kinetic energy you see is translational—meaning that the object moves in a straight or curved line. The equation for translational kinetic energy is:

KE = mv2/2

where

Can transfer energy

When a moving object collides with another object, some of its KE can be transferred according to the Law of Conservation of Energy and Law of Conservation of Momentum.

Scale a KE

Kinetic energy covers a wide range of scales. A moving subatomic particle has KE, according to its mass and velocity. Likewise, a moving truck has its own KE.

Rotational kinetic energy

An object or particle that is rotating has kinetic energy that can be transferred to another object.

KErot = Iω2/2

where

The moment of inertia of an object depends on the distribution of its mass. Thus, there is no simple calculation of I.

Can transfer energy

When a spinning object comes in contact with another object, some of its KE can be transferred by friction or other resistive force.

Scale a KE

On the macro scale, an object that comes into contact with a spinning wheel can be projected forward.

On the micro scale, a rotating molecule can affect others through electromagnetic forces.

Vibrational kinetic energy

An object that is vibrating or oscillating has kinetic energy that can be transferred to another object.

 

Summary

Kinetic energy is the energy of a moving object according to the equation KE = ½ mv². Motion and kinetic energy can be a direct result of a force can be applied to a object. Releasing potential energy can create kinetic energy, such as with springs and chemical reactions. Heat, electrical energy and light are forms of kinetic energy.


Move with kinetic energy


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