What is Potential energy?
The further you pull each end of the rubber band means the more energy it is building up. This is potential energy. Potential is also defined as “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.” Google, (2016). When you let one or both ends go the rubber band rapidly shoots back into the original position that it was in. As soon as you let go of the rubber band the potential energy that was stored turns into kinetic energy. Now that you have a better understanding of potential energy works or what it is, let’s think about how this concept is used in everyday life.
In your everyday life
Whether you are a student, a 9 to 5 worker, stay at home mom, or even a baby, chances are potential energy shows up in your everyday life without you even knowing. In can come in ways like the flip of a light bulb or your phone just sitting there. Have you ever open an ice-cold coke on a hot summer day?
In your academic life
Potential energy doesn’t just stop at your everyday life in continues with you academic life as well including different careers and classes you would need for that said career. Mechanical engineering is one example that has potential energy written all over it. No matter who you are If you were thinking about making this your major then physics is a class you should consider taking. The main energy sources that are used are kinetic and potential energy. Some examples of what mechanical engineers work on are refrigerators, air conditioning, elevators, escalators, etc. All of these items are in our everyday lives. These items are in buildings, homes, and department stores everywhere. All of these start out as potential energy when they first begin to run, once they keep running they become kinetic energy. Mechanical engineers help with building all of these items and creating the potential energy that happens before kinetic energy takes over.
A specific item that mechanical engineers work on are BB guns. When a spring is inserted in a BB gun the spring serves as a type of energy for shooting a bullet. When you cock the gun the spring is compressed and held by something in place. Once the trigger is pulled the spring is released and the bullet fires at a rapid pace. Mechanical engineers work with science and how energy works to solve how to make this bullet fire at such a high pace with very little cost and even no electricity needed. Choosing this career for your major could give you more information about what potential energy is and how it is used when manufacturing items such as air-conditioning, refrigerators, escalators, etc.
So, we have talked about how people incorporate this energy in their daily life and how we use it for certain careers. Now ask yourself this question; how or why does knowing about this topic help different people including yourself?
Lets refer back to the different examples that we went over, one of the big examples that I really think many people could relate to was the comparison between the coke battle and the roller coaster. The coke bottle is in potential energy when the cap is closed and the pressure from the bubbles is still contained, as for the roller coaster it is in potential energy when it is at the very top before it descends to the bottom of the track. Another good one could be our BB image demonstration it shows when potential energy is happening and when kinetic energy is happening.