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Energy Transformations
Or: How do we change one type of
energy to another type?
What is Energy?
• Energy is “the ability to do work”.
• It is what “makes things happen” from the
smallest electron circling the nucleus of an
atom to the light pouring from the surface of
the sun.
Two Forms of Energy
• Energy can be described as in one of two
• Kinetic energy – something is moving.
• Potential energy – something has energy
stored and is ready to begin moving.
Types of Energy
Both forms of energy can occur in
many types:
Thermal (or heat) energy
Light energy
Chemical energy
Mechanical energy
Electrical energy
The Law of Conservation of Energy
• One of the fundamental scientific laws is that
“Energy cannot be created nor destroyed”.
• The amount of energy in the universe is
• When energy changes from one form or one
type to another--- that’s when things happen!
Different devices can transform one
type of energy to another.
(Chemical energy)
Light Energy
Coal-fired boiler
(Thermal energy)
(Electrical Energy)
Steam Turbine Generator
(Mechanical Energy)
Air Conditioner
(Thermal Energy)
(Light Energy)
Solar Panels
Hot water heater
(Thermal Energy)
(chemical energy)
Car engine
converts it to heat
(thermal energy),
and then, to
(mechanical energy)
Now, it’s your turn!
Work within your group to come up
with several ways you can use
materials to convert one form of
energy to another.
Explain how you will know an energy
conversion has occurred.