Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy: What, How to Convert, Process


The article discusses the process of mechanical energy to kinetic energy due to an object’s movement.

Mechanical energy, either potential energy or kinetic energy, depends on whether an object is resting or moving to do work done. When an object at rest initiates moving, its potential energy slowly becomes zero; that’s when mechanical energy is eventually becoming its kinetic energy. 

Whether you are standing, walking, running, or just sleeping, you perform the work in all cases. To do any work, we utilize specific energy which permits us to either move or stay at rest. The energy which has the ability to do work is called ‘mechanical energy.

When an object is at one position or rest, there are only non-contact forces such as gravity force acting on it. That is when the mechanical energy of an object is potential energy stored within the object

Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy
Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy
Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy
Mechanical Energy
(credit: shutterstock)

When an external force other than gravity acts on an object that changes its position, the stored potential energy shifts to do the work. That’s is when the conversion of the mechanical energy to kinetic energy occurs. 

Suppose we kick a football having the gravitational potential energy as mechanical energy. After kicking, a ball proceeds with increasing speed above the ground due to raised kinetic energy and a lowering in potential energy. Similarly, the mountains release an enormous amount of stored mechanical energy in the form of kinetic energy during the landslide. 

Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy
Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy
(credit: shutterstock)

Read about Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy Examples

What Process is Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy?

The mechanical energy to kinetic energy process involves the law of energy conservation.

The mechanical energy qualifies an object to operate a force on another object to do the work. It leads to a never-ending cycle of the exact quantity of energy conversion into another form of energy. That’s how mechanical energy is conserved.  

Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy
Conservation of Mechanical Energy
(credit: shutterstock)

In doing work, an object exchanges its kinetic energy with other objects on which the work is done. The exchange energy is stored within another object as potential energy. That means one’s kinetic energy is potential energy to another. 

The potential energy as mechanical energy sets the amount of work an object can do. But once the force acted on such an object, it acquired the kinetic energy to perform the work by moving in either a horizontal or vertical direction. The accumulated kinetic energy has three different forms depending on the movement of internal particles. 

We see diverse applications transforming mechanical energy to kinetic energy and its different types energy form.

When we ring a bell, our mechanical energy is transmitted into a bell to create sound energy. When we switch on the light, its stored mechanical energy is transformed into electrical energy. When we rubbed hands together, the mechanical energy on the hand surface transformed into thermal energy.

Types of Energies
Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy Conversions

During any energy conversation, the exact amount of energy is transformed. Hence, the mechanical energy of the system remains the same or conserved as per the law of conservation of energy.

When we hold a ball into our hand, it has maximum potential energy and zeroes kinetic energy. 

Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy
Energy Conversions

Case 1: When we throw a ball upward, it acquires maximum kinetic energy with potential energy decreases.

Case 2: The ball proceeding upward stops at a certain height when gravity force becomes greater than applied force; that is when it acquires maximum potential energy with zero kinetic energy.

Case 3: At a certain height, the ball switches its direction and initiates moving downward as normal force balances the gravity force; it acquires the maximum kinetic energy with zero potential energy.

Case 4: Once a ball arrives at the ground, its motion becomes zero due to gravity force only, i.e., maximum potential energy with zero kinetic energy.

If we take the sum of potential and kinetic energy in all the above cases, we discover that even though their individual energy values are different, their sum is identical in all cases. The sum of potential and kinetic energy is termed the total mechanical energy of a system. 

Read about the Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy

How to Convert Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy?

The mechanical energy is transformed into kinetic energy when an unmoving object starts moving.

The conversion of mechanical energy to Kinetic Energy implies splitting potential energy combined with kinetic energy. It emerges only when an object at rest begins moving due to external force. The energy conversion depends upon the portion of potential energy an object possesses. 

The mechanical energy is conserved as potential energy in the perfect system where forces like friction and air resistance or drag are neglected. When an object within the system does mechanical action like slides, roll, fall, fly, etc., mechanical energy is employed to accomplish the movement by converting it into kinetic energy. 

As a suspended bob in the pendulum begins moving, the mechanical energy constantly passes between two energy forms in back-and-forth harmonic motion. The swinging bob has greater kinetic energy and lowers potential energy at the vertical position. In contrast, it has lower kinetic energy and greater potential energy at both extremities. 

If the pendulum system overlooks the friction and air resistance forces, then the swinging bob’s mechanical energy or a sum of kinetic and potential energies is not divided. When the external force is assumed, the mechanical energy conversion arises at the end of each swing. 

Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy
How to Convert Mechanical Energy to Kinetic Energy
(credit: shutterstock)

Read more about Harmonic Motion

Mechanical Energy Vs Kinetic Energy

Mechanical EnergyKinetic Energy
It is a primary form of energyIt is one of the types of energy.
It is due to both object’s position or motion.It is due to only the object’s motion.
It describes an object’s ability to work done.It describes the amount of work is done by an object.
It split up from potential energy to give kinetic energy.It is combined with potential energy to give mechanical energy.

Manish Naik

Hello, I'm Manish Naik completed my MSc Physics with Solid-State Electronics as a specialization. I have three years of experience in Article Writing on Physics subject. Writing, which aimed to provide accurate information to all readers, from beginners and experts. In my leisure time, I love to spend my time in nature or visiting historical places. I am honoured to be part of LambdaGeeks. Looking forward to connecting you through LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/manish-ashok-naik/ Also, for Maharashtra travel guide and heritage conservation articles, visit my website Wandering Maharashtra - https://wanderingmaharashtra.com/travel-blogs/

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