Radiant energy, a form of kinetic energy, is the energy of electromagnetic radiation. Here we will discuss several example of potential energy to radiant energy transformation.
- Fire burning in fireplace
- Heat created by the body
- Radiant energy from the Sun
- Combustion of natural gas
- Candle flames
- Incandescent light bulbs
- Cell phones
- Combustion of coal
- A battery-powered flashlight
- Radioactive decay
- TV Remotes
Fire burning in fireplace
Since light is an electromagnetic radiation, it is also a form of radiant energy. Fire burning in a fireplace converts the chemical potential energy of the wood into heat energy and radiant energy.
Heat created by the body
Food is the source of energy for human beings and animals. Food we consume contains stored chemical potential energy. Due to the metabolism taking place in our body, the stored chemical potential energy is transformed to thermal energy. This generates heat in our body and hence emits radiant energy in the form of infrared radiation.
Radiant energy from the Sun
The Sun is the primary energy source for the survival of living beings on Earth. A huge source of radiant energy from the Sun is due to the nuclear fusion taking place within the Sun. This happens because of the energy stored in the nuclei of atoms. Hence, energy is transformed from nuclear potential energy to radiant energy in the Sun.
Combustion of natural gas
Natural gas is a form of fuel in gaseous form and is used for generating electricity as well as a fuel for vehicles in its compressed form (CNG). It contains stored chemical potential energy, which gets transformed to heat energy and radiant energy upon its combustion.
The candle flames are a source of radiant energy (light) since light is an electromagnetic wave. When a candle is burning, the chemical potential energy in the wick and wax is transformed to light which is a visible form of radiant energy.
Incandescent light bulbs
When electricity passes through the filament of a light bulb, the bulb glows. The energy transformations during the process are that the electrical potential energy is converted to heat and light energy, i.e., radiant energy.
Cell phones are a source of radiant energy. Cell phones primarily work using the energy of the batteries. Chemical potential energy is stored in the batteries and that is transformed to electrical energy in the cell phones while on use. This electrical energy is converted to radiant energy (electromagnetic waves) while the cell phone is used for communication and the radiant energy is send to other phones.
Combustion of coal
Coal is a fossil fuel and a source of energy for several purposes. Chemical potential energy is stored in coal and its combustion converts the chemical energy to thermal energy and radiant energy. This emitted energy is utilized for generating electricity in power plants.
A battery-powered flashlight
Flashlights and torches are sources of light (radiant energy). This radiant energy is emitted because of the energy transformation taking place within the batteries of flashlights. The battery comprises of electrodes and electrolytes which contains chemical potential energy stored in it. This energy is transformed to electrical energy and then to heat and light energy.
Lightning occurs whenever there is an electrostatic discharge between two electrically charged clouds. The discharge releases huge amounts of radiant energy which has the power to cause damage to objects as well as severe injury to humans, sometimes death.
The energy transformation is from electrical potential energy to radiant energy. In some cases, high energy radiation other than visible light may also be released.
Radioactive decay occurs in elements with unstable nuclei. In order to become more stable the unstable nuclei emits radiation and may emit charged particles of matter. For example, Helium-3 nucleus is unstable and it emits high energy gamma rays to attain stability.
Every nuclei possess potential energy in the form of nuclear energy. This energy is getting transformed to radiant energy during a radioactive decay. Gamma rays possess the highest energy of all electromagnetic radiations and they are the most dangerous too.
TV remotes work using the batteries. Viewers control television programmes and channels using remotes. TV remotes emit infrared radiation which is received by the receiver box and hence the user can control television channels.
The battery in a TV remote contains stored chemical potential energy that is converted to electrical energy and this electrical energy is then transformed to radiant energy in the form of infrared rays.