Energy is always moving. It moves us, it lights our way, it warms our homes. But how does energy move? And how does it change?
In this article, we’ll explore the ways in which energy moves and changes. We’ll talk about the four ways energy can be moved, how energy is stored and transferred, and where energy goes when it’s no longer needed. So read on to find out everything you need to know about how energy moves!
How does energy move?
Conduction: Heat is transferred between solid objects that are in direct contact with each other. The atoms in the object vibrate and bump into each other, transferring their kinetic energy. The faster the atoms are moving, the higher the temperature of the object.
Convection: Heat is transferred through fluids, such as air or water. The molecules in the fluid expand when they are heated and become less dense. The less dense molecules rise to the top while the denser molecules sink to the bottom. This creates a circulation of fluid that transfers heat from one place to another.
Radiation: Heat can be transferred through electromagnetic waves, such as infrared waves. These waves do not require a medium (such as air or water) to travel through and can transfer heat even in a vacuum. Radiation is the primary method of heat transfer in space.
How does energy move and change?
Energy can move from one object to another, like when the energy from your moving foot is transferred to a soccer ball. Energy can also change from one form to another. When energy in a battery is used to power an electronic device, chemical energy is transformed into electrical energy, which moves along wires.
Energy is always moving and changing. It’s constantly in motion. And it can be transferred from one object to another. Sometimes, energy can be converted from one form to another.
For example, when you rub your hands together, you’re transferring energy from your hands to the air. The air gets warmer as a result of the friction.
When you pedal a bike, you use muscular energy to move the pedals. That energy gets transferred to the wheels, which spin. The wheels then transfer energy to the ground, propelling the bike forward.
On a larger scale, the sun transfers energy to the earth in the form of sunlight. That energy is then transformed into different forms, like heat and light, which helps to sustain all life on earth:
- Energy is always moving.
- Energy can move from one object to another.
- Energy can change from one form to another.
What are the 4 ways energy can be moved?
Energy can be transferred in four ways: mechanically, electrically, by radiation, and by heating. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Mechanical energy transfer is the most common type of energy transfer. It occurs when a force is applied to an object, causing it to move. The force may be applied directly, as in the case of a moving car, or indirectly, as in the case of a windmill. Mechanical energy transfer is efficient, but it can be slow. Additionally, it requires a force to be applied in order to work.
Electrical energy transfer occurs when an electric current flows through a conductor, such as a wire. The electric current can be generated by chemical means, as in a battery, or by mechanical means, as in a generator. Electrical energy transfer is faster than mechanical energy transfer, but it is less efficient. Additionally, electrical energy transfer requires a conductor through which to flow.
Radiation is a type of energy transfer that does not require a medium. Instead, it occurs through the emission and absorption of electromagnetic waves. Radiation can be used to transfer energy over long distances, but it is inefficient. Additionally, radiation can be dangerous to living things.
Heating is a type of energy transfer that occurs when heat is transferred from one object to another. Heat can be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation. Heating is efficient, but it can be slow. Additionally, heating requires a temperature difference between the two objects.
Does energy move in waves?
Light, heat, radio, and similar types of energy are carried by a variety of waves in the ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM. Some energy waves need a medium, such as water or air, through which to travel. The medium moves back and forth as waves carry energy through it, but it does not actually travel along with the wave.
Waves transport energy from one place to another without transporting matter. This is why we can see the light from stars that are millions and billions of miles away.
There are different types of waves. Some waves are very big and some are very small. Some you can see and some you cannot. Some can make your eardrums vibrate so you can hear music, and some can make your eyesight blurry.
All waves have a wavelength, which is the distance between two identical points on the wave. The wavelength determines how high or low the wave is. For example, if you are looking at a water wave, the wavelength is the distance between two crest of the wave. The wavelength also determines the color of light waves—red has the longest wavelength and violet has the shortest wavelength.
The distance a wave travels in one second is its speed. The speed of all electromagnetic waves is the same—the speed of light! But different types of waves travel at different speeds through different mediums:
- Sound waves travel more slowly than light waves.
- Water waves travel more slowly than sound waves.
The amount of energy carried by a wave is related to its amplitude. The amplitude is the height of a wave from its rest position to its crest (top) or trough (bottom).
Where does energy go?
The answer to this question may seem simple, but it has some interesting implications. Energy goes into two main places: it is either converted into heat or it is used to do work.
When energy is converted into heat, it is absorbed and then radiated out into space. This happens on a large scale with the sun, but it also happens when you rub your hands together to generate warmth. The absorbed energy is converted into heat, and then it radiates out into the surroundings.
Work is done when energy is used to overcome a force. For example, when you lift a heavy object, you are using energy to overcome the force of gravity. Other examples of work include spinning a turbine or moving a vehicle.
Where does all this energy come from? It comes from the sun. The sun emits energy in the form of radiation, and this energy travels through space and eventually reaches the Earth. Once it reaches the Earth, it is either reflected back into space or it is absorbed by the atmosphere and oceans.
Some of the energy that is absorbed by the Earth is converted into heat, and some of it is used to do work. The heat that is generated by the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans eventually radiates out into space, and the work that is done by the oceans and atmosphere helps to keep the Earth’s climate stable.
How is energy stored and transferred?
Energy can be stored or transferred, but it cannot be used up. For example, energy is stored in the chemical bonds of molecules in diesel oil and oxygen molecules in the air. This energy is transferred in combustion and allows the car to move and accelerate, or reach a certain distance.
In order for the combustion to happen, a spark is needed to break the bonds between the atoms in the fuel molecules. The oxygen in the air then reacts with the hydrocarbons in the fuel to create heat, water, and carbon dioxide. The heat produced by this reaction is what powers the engine.
Energy can also be transferred from one object to another. For example, when you hit a tennis ball with a racket, the kinetic energy of your swing is transferred to the ball, and it starts moving. Similarly, when you plug in an electronic device, like a cell phone charger, the electrical energy from the outlet is transferred to your phone, charging its battery.
Energy can also be transformed, or changed from one form to another. For example, chemical energy, like that stored in gasoline, can be turned into mechanical energy, which powers an engine. Or solar energy, captured by solar panels, can be turned into electrical energy, which powers our homes and appliances.
- Chemical energy: The type of energy that comes from the chemical reactions between atoms and molecules. Examples include fossil fuels like coal and oil, as well as food.
- Electrical energy: The type of energy that comes from moving electrons. Examples include batteries and power plants.
- Kinetic energy: The type of energy that comes from motion. Examples include moving cars and flying bullets.
- Mechanical energy: The type of energy that comes from machines like engines and levers. Examples include windmills and roller coasters.
- Solar energy: The type of energy that comes from the sun. Examples include solar panels and solar ovens.