9 Example Of Mechanical To Thermal Energy: Detailed Explanations


Energy conservation leads us to convert mechanical energy into heat. This post is concerned with giving a list of examples of mechanical to thermal energy.

  • Rubbing the hand
  • Brakes in automobiles
  • Air conditioner
  • Superchargers
  • Roller coaster as an example of mechanical to thermal energy
  • Liquification of solids
  • Grinding
  • Burning of coal
  • Heating of iron
  • Heat pump
  • Coat hanger wire as an example of mechanical to thermal energy
  • Refrigerators

Example of mechanical energy to heat energy

Heat energy is nothing but thermal energy. The mechanical energy is transferred into heat by both direct and indirect methods. Some example of mechanical to thermal energy is discussed below.

example of mechanical to thermal energy
Example of mechanical to thermal energy

Rubbing the hand

You often rub your hand to get warmth. The rubbing of the hand produces heat due to friction. Rubbing is regarded as mechanical energy. As you rub the hand, the mechanical energy is converted into thermal energy.

Disc brakes in automobiles

Have you ever observed that disk brakes in your automobiles will be heated up while driving at high speed? Then what is the reason behind the heating up of disk brakes?

Initially, you are driving at a certain speed; as the speed keeps on increasing, the mechanical energy is converted into heat. With rash driving, the friction in the brake system increases, producing heat. As the moving body possesses kinetic energy, which is nothing but mechanical energy, the disc brake is an example of mechanical to thermal energy.

Image credits: Image by Ralphs_Fotos from Pixabay 

Air conditioner

An air conditioner pneumatic is a device that converts stored potential energy into pressurized air, setting temperatures as low or high. In the working process of the air compressor, hot air is produced due to the conversion of mechanical energy into thermal energy.

The air conditioner consists of an air compressor fitted with an inlet and outlet valve. When you turn on the air conditioner, the stored charges possessing potential energy get converted into thermal energy. The heat generated during the air compression can be monitored by setting the temperature accordingly.

Superchargers

Superchargers, also known as mechanical chargers, are pre-compressors fitted with an engine. Superchargers consist of a rotor that blows up the air at high speed. The intake air is thus compressed to generate high power. During the process, heat is produced inside the chamber, which enables the engine’s high efficiency. Thus mechanical energy is converted into thermal energy in the superchargers.

Roller coaster as an example of mechanical to thermal energy

We all are enjoyed the ride on the roller coaster, which is the best example of mechanical to thermal energy conversion due to friction. The total mechanical energy experienced by the roller coaster is due to both the potential and kinetic energy of the car of the coaster.

Image credits: Image by hartono subagio from Pixabay 

As the car of the roller coaster begins to move, its potential energy gets converted into kinetic energy; during the process, some amount of heat is generated between the track and car due to frictional force. The generation of heat is due to the conversion of mechanical energy. Thus riding on the roller coaster is an example of mechanical to thermal energy.

Liquification of solids

Liquification is a process of converting solid material into liquid under the exertion of high pressure. The high explosives are used to provide the required amount of pressure of the Liquification.

The process involves the application of mechanical force to exert pressure on the solid material. The mechanical force transforms the solid into liquid at high pressure. During the process, heat is produced due to mechanical force, which plays a vital role in melting the solid. Thus in the Liquification of solid involves the partial conversion of mechanical energy into thermal energy.

Grinding

The grinding process involves the rotation of the sharp blade to grind the things. In the process, electrical energy is converted into mechanical energy. But it can be an example of mechanical to thermal energy.

When the blade rotates, the electrical energy is completely converted into mechanical energy. As the rotation speed increases due to friction, heat is produced. In the grinding in the mixer, you have observed that the jar is quietly hot after the grinding. So in grinding, the mechanical energy is converted into thermal energy partially.

Burning of coal

When the coal is burnt, the chemical potential energy stored in the coal is converted into many forms of energy such as thermal energy, light energy, and sound energy. Only thermal energy is essential for a further helpful purpose.

When the coal is passed through the stream towards the turbine, the potential energy stored in the coal is transformed into thermal energy as it burns. This thermal energy is again converted into mechanical energy inside the turbine to give electric energy.

Image credits: Image by Hulki Okan Tabak from Pixabay 

Heat pump

One of the essential parts of thermodynamics is the heat engine, designed to convert mechanical to heat and vice versa.

A heat pump is a closed system that compresses the fluid, and hence the temperature of the system is increased. The heat produced in the pump is transformed to the surrounding environment of low temperature. Thus heat pumps are the best example of mechanical to thermal energy.

Coat hanger wire as an example of mechanical to thermal energy

The mechanical energy is converted into heat when the coat hanger wires are bent with the pliers back and forth. The tip of the wire is heated with a small amount due to the friction. Thus bending the coat hanger wire with pliers converts mechanical to thermal energy.

Refrigerators

Refrigerators are also closed system devices that work on the principle of air compression. Conversion of mechanical to thermal energy is responsible for the action of refrigerator to preserve the food.

Image credits: Image by K-H. Leuders from Pixabay

The fridge converts the electrical energy is into mechanical energy when it is turned on. The refrigerant converts the mechanical energy into heat energy at the air compressor portion. The heat produced is transferred to the sink by keeping the refrigerator cool. Thus refrigerator is an example of mechanical to thermal energy conversion.

Keerthi Murthi

I am Keerthi K Murthy, I have completed post graduation in Physics, with the specialization in the field of solid state physics. I have always consider physics as a fundamental subject which is connected to our daily life. Being a science student I enjoy exploring new things in physics. As a writer my goal is to reach the readers with the simplified manner through my articles. Reach me – keerthikmurthy24@gmail.com

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