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# Energy Transformation

Introduction
Energy is a fundamental concept in physics and it is a word that tends to be used a lot in everyday life. Energy is referred to as the measurement of the ability of something to do work. Energy can be stored and utilized in many forms to understand the world around us. There are different forms of energy, each form has its unique properties, and they can interact and convert from one form to another. In this article, we will explore what is energy transformation, and how these different forms of energy interact and convert.

What is Energy Transformation?
We often hear and read that” according to the law of conservation of energy, energy can neither be created nor destroyed”. But if energy cannot be made then where do we find the energy? and if energy cannot be destroyed then why do we need new batteries when a handheld game runs out of energy? The answer lies in the concept that energy is transforming all around us.

Energy transformation takes place when one form of energy converts into another form of energy such as when chemical energy in gasoline allows our car to make mechanical energy and move in either way. Various forms of energy can interact and convert from one form to another. Understanding these interactions and conversions is crucial for developing sustainable energy sources and dealing with the challenges of climate change.

The most common forms of energy are mechanical, thermal, electrical, chemical, and nuclear energy. There are various ways in which these forms of energy can interact with each other.

Mechanical Energy
Mechanical energy is the energy that an object possesses based on its position or motion e.g. the energy of a moving car and in a stretched spring. Mechanical energy can be converted into other forms of energy such as electrical energy. For example, a generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, the reverse process is also possible. For instance, an electric motor is used to convert electrical energy to mechanical energy.

Fig.1 an electric generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy

Thermal Energy
The energy that is associated with the temperature of a system is called thermal energy. Thermal energy can be transferred when there is a temperature difference between two objects, such as the heat transferred from a hot cup of coffee to the surrounding air. Thermal energy can be converted into mechanical energy. For instance, in a steam engine, where heat energy is used to generate steam, which in turn operates a turbine to generate machinal energy.

Fig.2 stream train is used heat energy to generate steam and convert thermal energy into mechanical energy

The vice versa is also true e.g. in a thermal power plant, where heat energy is used to boil water, which in turn operates a turbine to generate electrical energy.

Electrical Energy
This energy is associated with the movement of electrons in a conduction material, such as a wire. Electrical energy can be transformed into mechanical energy, such as in an electric motor. Electrical energy can also be converted into thermal energy. For instance, in an electric heater, where electrical energy is used to heat a wire that radiates heat.

Fig.3 Electric heater

Chemical Energy
Chemical energy is the energy that is associated with the chemical bonds between atoms and molecules. When chemical bonds are formed or broken, energy is released or absorbed. Chemical energy can be converted into thermal energy. For instance, when fuel is burned to release heat. Chemical energy can also be converted into electrical energy e.g. in a battery, where a chemical reaction is used to generate a flow of electrons.

Nuclear Energy
Nuclear energy is an energy that is associated with the nucleus of an atom. When the nucleus of an atom is split, energy is released in the form of heat and radiation. Nuclear energy can be converted into electrical energy e.g. nuclear power plant, where nuclear reactions occur that generate heat, which in turn operates a turbine to create electrical energy.

Interactions between Different Forms of Energy
Energy can also interact with other forms of energy. For instance, when a car is moving, it has both mechanical and thermal energy. When the driver applies brakes, some of the mechanical energy is converted into thermal energy due to friction between the brake pads and the wheels.

Fig.4 when a light bulb is turned on, some of the electrical energy is converted into heat and some is converted into light.

Summary
• Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed but it can be transformed from one form to another.
• Various forms of energy can convert and interact into another form.
• These different forms include mechanical, electrical, thermal, chemical, and nuclear energy.
• Mechanical energy is associated with the position or motion of an object while chemical energy is associated with the chemical bonds between atoms and molecules.

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