Does Velocity Affect Potential Energy:Detailed Facts,Examples And FAQs

Does velocity affect potential energy? The relevant question came to mind while talking about potential energy.

The potential energy is the capacity to cause the work, which is possessed by a stationary object due to its position and configuration. Then how does velocity affect potential energy of the object? Let us know the significance of velocity on the potential energy in this post.

How does velocity affect potential energy of the system?

Generally, the potential energy is possessed by the object at the stationary state. If there is no movement takes place then the velocity will be zero. This implies that the velocity has nothing to do with the potential energy as long as the object is at rest. But when the object starts moving, the potential energy decreases with an increase in the velocity because now the energy acting object is the kinetic energy.

Does velocity affect gravitational potential energy?

The gravitational potential energy is the work done by the gravitational field.

The general expression for the gravitational potential energy is given by

U = m*g*h Where U is the potential energy, g is the acceleration due to gravity, h is the height of the object associated with its center of mass.

If the velocity of the object is against the gravitational pull, i.e., in the upward direction, the gravitational potential energy increases because the kinetic energy is converted into potential energy.

Suppose the velocity of the object is in the same direction of the gravitational pull i.e., in the downward direction, the gravitational potential energy decreases because the kinetic energy becomes maximum by converting all the potential energy. Thus increases in the velocity nullify the potential energy.

Does velocity affect elastic potential energy?

Elastic potential energy is stored in the physical system subjected to elastic deformation. This kind of energy can be seen in the stretched string or spring, which can regain its original shape even after the compression or elongation.

The elastic potential energy is given by the expression;

Where K is the spring constant and ∆x is the position of the spring.

It is clear that the elastic potential energy depends on the spring constant and the position of the spring, not on the velocity. So the velocity has nothing to do with the elastic potential energy.

Does velocity affect electric potential energy?

The electric potential energy is associated with the two oppositely charged particles by the virtue of their configuration, generally, between the positive and negative charges. Generally, it is given by the formula;

The time-variant electric filed describes the electric potential energy; in contrast, the time-invariant electric field is describes the electrostatic potential energy.

The electrostatic potential energy is given by the formula;

Let us imagine that electron is placed inside a uniform electric field, like a parallel plate capacitor. As the electron experience the electric field, it begins to accelerate in the opposite direction, and hence the kinetic energy of the electron is increased.

Electric Potential Energy

As the velocity increases, the electron will gain more kinetic energy, and its potential energy decreases. But the system’s total energy remains the same because the gain of kinetic energy compensates for the loss of potential energy.

It can be expressed by using the formula given below:

Where m is the mass of the electron, v1 and v2 are the initial and final velocity of the electron, V1 and V2 are the electric potential energy.

Does velocity affect chemical potential energy?

The chemical potential energy is possessed by the strength of the bond between the molecules.

The chemical potential energy of a compound is released in two ways; one is some of the potential energy is converted into work which causes the motion, and another is some of the potential energy is released in the form of heat.

In the first case, the stored potential decreases as the energy are converted into work. This is due to the work that causes the motion, and hence the stored potential energy converted as kinetic energy. The velocity increases as the kinetic energy increase so that the potential energy gradually decreases.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the stored potential energy become zero?

The stored potential energy becomes zero only when all the potential energy is transforms into kinetic energy or released in the form of heat.

If the force is applied to the system, it begins to move. At that instance, the kinetic energy is obtained by transforming the potential energy. This kinetic energy is responsible to increase the velocity. The increase in the kinetic energy makes the potential energy zero.

When is the gravitational potential energy not affected by the velocity?

Gravitational potential energy is possessed on the object by virtue of gravity acting on the body.

Until the body is stationary, the potential energy remains the same in the body. The gravitational potential energy is also not affected by the velocity until the body moves parallel. If the body moves upward or downward, the velocity affects the gravitational potential energy.

How can electric energy be potential energy as there is a movement of the electron?

The electric potential energy can be both potential and kinetic energy as there is a motion of the electron.

Before releasing the electron, it is considered the potential energy. Once the electron is released, it begins to move in the opposite direction. The energy required to keep the electron in motion is kinetic energy. So the electron has both potential as well as kinetic energy.

Give examples for chemical potential energy?

The examples for chemical potential energy are:

The fuel in the car consists of a large number of chemical bonds held by the potential energy. The fuel burnt and caused the motion of the car. By breaking the bond potential energy is released as kinetic energy which makes the car to move.

Dynamite is another excellent example of chemical potential energy that causes a large amount of heat when it explodes.

How does the total energy remain the same even if the potential energy is lost?

The work done on the system compensates for the loss of potential energy.

From the work-energy theorem, the work done by a system and the total energy are equal. The loss of potential energy may be converted into work, or it may be released in the form of heat, which is also responsible for doing the work on the system. The system’s total energy never decreases even though potential energy is lost.

Which state of matter has more potential energy?

Solid has more potential energy than liquids, and liquid has more potential energy than gases.

The potential energy is due to the position rather than the motion. The solid has much potential energy as a strong force holds the particles, and it is slightly difficult to move the solid substance compared to the other two states. Hence solid have much greater potential energy.

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