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    Energy Transfers and Transformations

    Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transferred and transformed. There are a number of different ways energy can be changed, such as when potential energy becomes kinetic energy or when one object moves another object.

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    ARTICLE 50

    Energy Transfers And Transformations

    Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transferred and transformed. There are a number of different ways energy can be changed, such as when potential energy becomes kinetic energy or when one object moves another object.

    GRADES 2 - 12 SUBJECTS

    Earth Science, Physics

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    Water Boiling Pot

    There are three types of thermal energy transfer: conduction, radiation, and convection. Convection is a cyclical process that only occurs in fluids.

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    Energy cannot be created or destroyed, meaning that the total amount of energy in the universe has always been and will always be constant. However, this does not mean that energy is immutable; it can change form and even transfer between objects.

    A common example of energy transfer that we see in everyday life is the transfer of kinetic energy—the energy associated with motion—from one moving object to a stationary object via work. In physics, work is a measure of energy transfer and refers to the force applied by an object over a distance. When a golf club is swung and hits a stationary golf ball, some of the club’s kinetic energy transfers to the ball as the club does “work” on the ball. In an energy transfer such as this one, energy moves from one object to another, but stays in the same form. A kinetic energy transfer is easy to observe and understand, but other important transfers are not as easy to visualize.

    Thermal energy has to do with the internal energy of a system due to its temperature. When a substance is heated, its temperature rises because the molecules it is composed of move faster and gain thermal energy through heat transfer. Temperature is used as a measurement of the degree of “hotness” or “coldness” of an object, and the term heat is used to refer to thermal energy being transferred from a hotter system to a cooler one. Thermal energy transfers occur in three ways: through conduction, convection, and radiation.

    When thermal energy is transferred between neighboring molecules that are in contact with one another, this is called conduction. If a metal spoon is placed in a pot of boiling water, even the end not touching the water gets very hot. This happens because metal is an efficient conductor, meaning that heat travels through the material with ease. The vibrations of molecules at the end of the spoon touching the water spread throughout the spoon, until all the molecules are vibrating faster (i.e., the whole spoon gets hot). Some materials, such as wood and plastic, are not good conductors—heat does not easily travel through these materials—and are instead known as insulators.

    Convection only occurs in fluids, such as liquids and gases. When water is boiled on a stove, the water molecules at the bottom of the pot are closest to the heat source and gain thermal energy first. They begin to move faster and spread out, creating a lower density of molecules at the bottom of the pot. These molecules then rise to the top of the pot and are replaced at the bottom by cooler, denser water. The process repeats, creating a current of molecules sinking, heating up, rising, cooling down, and sinking again.

    The third type of heat transfer—radiation—is critical to life on Earth and is important for heating bodies of water. With radiation, a heat source does not have to touch the object being heated; radiation can transfer heat even through the vacuum of space. Nearly all thermal energy on Earth originates from the sun and radiates to the surface of our planet, traveling in the form of electromagnetic waves, such as visible light. Materials on Earth then absorb these waves to be used for energy or reflect them back into space.

    In an energy transformation, energy changes form. A ball sitting at the top of a hill has gravitational potential energy, which is an object’s potential to do work due to its position in a gravitational field. Generally speaking, the higher on the hill this ball is, the more gravitational potential energy it has. When a force pushes it down the hill, that potential energy transforms into kinetic energy. The ball continues losing potential energy and gaining kinetic energy until it reaches the bottom of the hill.

    In a frictionless universe, the ball would continue rolling forever upon reaching the bottom, since it would have only kinetic energy. On Earth, however, the ball stops at the bottom of the hill due to the kinetic energy being transformed into heat by the opposing force of friction. Just as with energy transfers, energy is conserved in transformations.

    In nature, energy transfers and transformations happen constantly, such as in a coastal dune environment.

    When thermal energy radiates from the sun, it heats both the land and ocean, but water has a specific high heat capacity, so it heats up slower than land. This temperature difference creates a convection current, which then manifests as wind.

    This wind possesses kinetic energy, which it can transfer to grains of sand on the beach by carrying them a short distance. If the moving sand hits an obstacle, it stops due to the friction created by the contact and its kinetic energy is then transformed into thermal energy, or heat. Once enough sand builds up over time, these collisions can create sand dunes, and possibly even an entire dune field.

    Source : education.nationalgeographic.org

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    Do forces transfer energy?

    Answer (1 of 6): Forces, intrinsically, do not transfer energy. As many have mentioned, think of something in static equilibrium, like a box on a table. Both gravity and the table’s normal force are acting on the box, but, since neither its position nor speed changes, it doesn’t gain or lose any ...

    Do forces transfer energy?

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    Sort Aryan Prasad

    Student of Physics (and thus of everything in the universe).Author has 434 answers and 363.3K answer views1y

    Forces, intrinsically, do not transfer energy. As many have mentioned, think of something in static equilibrium, like a box on a table. Both gravity and the table’s normal force are acting on the box, but, since neither its position nor speed changes, it doesn’t gain or lose any energy.

    A transfer of energy (work, as it's often called) is the integral of a force with respect to a displacement. For a constant force, that simplifies to the product of force and displacement. If you push the box across the table, you do work on it and give it kinetic energy. That’s positive work. The friction of th

    Related questions

    What is the difference between energy and force? Do we have to first have the energy to have the force, whether the force is just a medium for energy transfer?

    Does energy cause force to be exerted, or does force produce energy?

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    Is the transfer of energy possible without a force?

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    Angus Skinner

    Former Retired IT Professional, Many Different Roles (1976–2012)Author has 1.8K answers and 2.5M answer views3y

    A force does not in itself transfer energy. Think of launching a stone with a catapult. Just before letting go, the elastic is stretched, the stone is motionless. There is a force from the catapult on the stone, and a reaction force from your fingers pulling back on the stone, that exactly balances the force from the catapult.

    At that moment, no energy is being transferred, though those two forces are both acting on the stone. (so is gravity pulling downwards, and a matching reaction force upwards from your fingers too ). Nothing is moving so no energy is being transferred in spite of the vario

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    Milan Woodson

    Energy as a study in biblical science for over two decadesAuthor has 8.7K answers and 3.8M answer views3y

    Yes, forces carry and transfer energy. Energy comes from forces of fields produced by electric charges of perpetually moving particles.

    Ali Abdulla

    professor of physics,with speciality in nuclear and quantum physicsAuthor has 15.6K answers and 4.5M answer views3y

    Forces are related to potential energy of the forces fields,F=-grad.V(r), where V(r),is the potential energy of the field at pointof distance (r),and V(r) =-integral F.dr.,so force and energy are physically related, remember energy is the ability to do work,and work is W=F. dx.

    Related questions

    Is there a relation between force work and energy?

    What is the difference between energy and force, do we have to have the energy first, and then the force that performs the work transfers the energy?

    Will there be an energy transfer if force is applied normally to displacement?

    Is power the speed at which force transfer energy?

    Can any force do work without an energy transfer?

    Ron Brown

    Decades of teaching physics to undergradsUpvoted by

    Damon Resnick

    , Ph.D. Physics, Montana State University – Bozeman (2005)Author has 7.6K answers and 26.2M answer views1y

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    Is the transfer of energy possible without a force?

    The short answer is contained in the first law of thermodynamics. The internal energy of an object or system is changed by either a transfer of heat or the work done on or by the object or system, or a combination. Heat can be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation, and work is done by a force.

    So a force is not necessary for the transfer of energy, although work done by a force is one of the ways to transfer energy.

    Carmel Pule'

    Former Diagnostician.Industrial consultant. (1956–2016)Author has 3.5K answers and 4.7M answer views3y

    I would not say that forces transfer energy, but it seems that to transfer energy, there seems to be some potential difference for a while which results in a flow of some sort which again this flow may be the cause of a potential difference.

    There are so many transfer of energy using that principles as pendulums, electrical oscillatory circuits, water flow including someone building a brick house or flying a plane. There contained in those examples is the transfer of energy due to a potential difference and a flow coming in somewhere which again may be arranged to create a potential difference

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    Sarang Sharma

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    Does energy cause force to be exerted, or does force produce energy?

    This is a good question and the answer is both. You may know that work done is equal to force times distance. And this work done on something gives it energy. So in this instance it is the force which is producing energy in the body, although producing is not the right word.

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