# What Is the Difference Between Kinetic Energy and Potential Energy?

Kinetic energy is the energy possessed by an object in motion. Potential energy, on the other hand, is the energy that an object has because of its position or state. This is the main difference between kinetic energy and potential energy. Kinetic energy is the energy possessed by an object in motion. Potential energy, on the other hand, is the energy that an object has because of its position or state. This is the main difference between kinetic energy and potential energy.

The energy gained by an object due to its motion is called kinetic energy. Every object of mass m and moving with velocity v has kinetic energy. For example; The molecules in matter are always in motion and therefore have kinetic energy. Water flowing in a river at a certain speed also has kinetic energy.

Kinetic energy is calculated with the formula K.E.=½mv² (m: mass, v: velocity).

The energy stored by an object due to its position is called potential energy. Every object of mass m and at a height h above the earth’s surface has potential energy. For example, water stored inside a dam has potential energy due to its location. When this water is released to fall on the blades of a turbine, it moves it and electricity generation becomes possible. The battery of a flashlight and the spring in a garage door are also examples of potential energy.

Potential energy is calculated with the formula P.E.=mgh (m: mass, g: gravitational acceleration, h: height).

Kinetic energy and potential energy are both expressed in units of energy, the Joule (J).

Kinetic energy depends on speed, potential energy depends on distance. Both depend on mass. Understanding kinetic energy is fairly easy, as motion is easy to see. Understanding potential energy is a little more difficult.

Kinetic energy and potential energy are related to the principle of conservation of mechanical energy. The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be destroyed, it can only be converted from one form to another.

Kinetic energy conversion occurs when an object with potential energy breaks its inertia. When friction losses are ignored, the sum of the kinetic and potential energy in the system remains constant.

To think through a simple example of a pendulum, as the pendulum swings, the mass at its tip moves higher and its potential energy increases due to its position. When the mass is at its highest point, all of its energy is potential energy. When the pendulum begins to swing downward, the stored potential energy is converted into kinetic energy.

Emre Yılmaz, the founder of Lighting Portal, graduated from Atılım University Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 2013, and since then has been involved in the management and product development activities of state-supported projects in the lighting industry. He completed his master's degree at Gazi University Industrial Design Engineering Department and continues his education in the doctorate program of the same department.