Energy is the power we use for transportation, for heat and light in our homes and for the manufacture of all kinds of products. There are two sources of energy: renewable and nonrenewable energy. Nonrenewable Sources of Energy
Electrical Energy Facts
Electrical energy is energy that comes from electrical potential energy. This energy is generated by the movement of positive and negative particles or electricity. Once electrical energy leaves its source, it is instantly transformed into a different kind of energy.
Interesting Electrical Energy Facts:
Most forms of electrical energy in objects must be confined by wire when being used.
Lightning is an example of electrical energy found in nature.
Although electricity is neither a renewable nor nonrenewable source of energy, it often comes from both renewable and nonrenewable sources.
Electricity has been around for centuries but it was not until late 19th century that it was actually utilized.
Static electricity occurs when the electrons from one object jump to another object.
Electrical energy is considered a secondary energy source because it has to come from another form of energy.
Electrical energy is the most widely used form of energy.
In order for electric energy to be utilized, it must act through a conductor.
Power plants that generate electrical energy actually change other forms of energy into electricity.
Electricity is generated when the electrons in a substance are passed along a conductor such as a metal wire.
Water, wind, and fossil fuels are all sources of electrical energy.
The two types of electrical charge in electrical energy are positive and negative.
If an object contains more electrons or negatively charges particles, it is said to be a negatively charged object.
When two charged objects are brought near each other, they either attract or repel each other which generate electrical energy.
Most of the time, electrical energy is viewed as power or the rate at which energy flows.
Kinetic Energy Facts
Kinetic energy is one of two main types of energy. When something is in motion, it has kinetic energy. Wind and water are examples of things with kinetic energy because they are moving. Electricity is also a form of kinetic energy. Kinetic energy includes many forms of movement such as vibrations and rotations.
Interesting Kinetic Energy Facts:
An object keeps the same amount of kinetic energy unless it speeds up or slows down.
Kinetic energy can be calculated for any moving object as long as the objects' mass and speed are known.
The unit used when measuring kinetic energy is called a joule.
Kinetic energy can occur in any direction whether up and down or left to right.
When an objects' mass doubles, its kinetic energy also doubles.
When an objects' speed doubles, its kinetic energy quadruples.
The faster an object moves, the more kinetic energy it has.
When an object collides with another object, it transfers its kinetic energy to the other object.
As a car on a roller coaster goes up hill, it loses kinetic energy.
In order for an object to gain kinetic energy, work has to be done to the object.
The word kinetic comes from the Greek word kinesis which means motion.
Although the concept of kinetic energy dates back to the days of Aristotle, Lord Kelvin is given the credit for first using the term around the year 1849.
Most kinetic energy begins as a different kind of energy and is converted.
There are two main types of kinetic energy: translational and rotational.
Translational kinetic energy depends on motion through space and rotational kinetic energy depends on motion centered on an axis.
Light Energy Facts
The potential for light to perform work is called light energy. Light energy is the only form of energy that we can actually see directly. It is formed through chemical, radiation, and mechanical means. Light energy can also be converted into other forms of energy.
Interesting Light Energy Facts:
Light travels at a speed of about 300,000 km/s.
The sunlight that we see here on Earth actually left the Sun 10 minutes before.
During photosynthesis, plants use light energy to create chemical energy.
UV lights are often used by forensic scientists to see details that are not seen by the naked eye.
Although humans cannot see UV light, some insects have the ability to see it.
Optics is the study of light.
The speed of light changes when traveling through different objects.
Light is a type of electromagnetic energy.
Light is made of tiny photons which contain lots of energy.
The intensity of photons is dependent upon the amount of energy they contain.
Space is dark because light is only visible when it has an object of which to bounce off.
Light energy is always moving and can therefore not be stored.
Light is also called electromagnetic radiation when speaking of light other than visible light.
Of all the forms of radiation and light on the electromagnetic spectrum, humans can only visibly see a very small amount of light.
The reason we see different colors of light is because each color has a different wavelength.
Mechanical Energy Facts
The mechanical energy of an object is the sum of its energy in motion and its stored motion. This means it is the sum of its kinetic and potential energy. Although the kinetic and potential energy of an object can change, its mechanical energy remains constant. This is because kinetic and potential energy change proportionately.
Interesting Mechanical Energy Facts:
Every object in motion contains mechanical energy.
The Law of Conservation of Mechanical Energy says that an objects mechanical energy remains constant under normal circumstances.
Although mechanical energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it can be converted to another type of energy.
Although other forces are always working on an object, they are normally so small that they do not change the amount of mechanical energy the object has.
Machines such as steam engines can convert mechanical energy into other forms of energy.
The mechanical energy of an object is associated with the objects' position and motion.
In a few cases, some mechanical energy is converted to heat resulting in less mechanical energy.
Some machines or devices can convert heat into mechanical energy.
The electric motor makes mechanical energy from electrical energy while a generator performs the opposite.
The job of a hydroelectric power plant is to make electrical energy from the mechanical energy of water that is stored in dams.
A turbine, such as a wind turbine, converts the kinetic energy of gas or steam into mechanical energy.
When an object loses mechanical energy, it gains heat or increases in temperature.
James Joule is the physicist who discovered the relationship between the loss of mechanical energy and the gain of heat.
If an object contains mechanical energy, then it has the ability to do work.
A wreaking ball, sound, and a bird all contain mechanical energy.
Nuclear Energy Facts
Nuclear energy refers to the process of using nuclear processes in order to generate heat or electricity. Most of these nuclear processes are performed using the rare earth elements. During the production of nuclear energy the nuclei of atoms either join together (fusion) or break apart (fission).
Interesting Nuclear Energy Facts:
There are roughly 430 nuclear power plants worldwide.
There have been three major nuclear power plant disasters which occurred in 1979, 1986, and 2011.
The nuclear accident which occurred in 1979 took 14 years to clean up.
The United States produces more nuclear energy than any other country.
Since the nuclear disaster of 2011, many nuclear power plants have shut down operation due to safety concerns.
Radiation and nuclear medicines are used to cure and treat many diseases.
Uranium is a rare earth metal that is commonly used for nuclear energy production.
A nuclear winter is a hypothetical situation in which the sunlight would be blocked causing extremely cold weather if too many nuclear weapons were used.
The nuclear disaster of 2011 has caused many countries to shut down all of their nuclear power plants by as early as the year 2025.
If a person is ever exposed to radiation during a nuclear disaster, the first thing they should do is remove their clothing because 90% of the radiation will be located there.
Africa is the first country in the world to destroy all of its nuclear weapons voluntarily.
Nuclear energy itself is not dangerous but the way in which it is generated gives off harmful waste products.
Although there have been three major nuclear power plant accidents, they are said to actually be quite safe places.
Fourteen percent of the world's electricity is generated by nuclear energy.
Scientists who study the interactions of atoms' nuclei are called nuclear physicists.
Renewable Energy Facts
Renewable energy is a type of energy that can be replenished. Once it is used, more can be produced. Some of the main types of renewable energy are wind, solar, and biomass such as wood waste. Renewable energy is a very important form of energy because it is a great alternative to other forms of energy that are not replenished.
Interesting Renewable Energy Facts:
About 16% of our total energy comes from a renewable source.
More than half of the renewable energy we use comes from biomass.
A wind turbine converts wind into electricity and the largest one is 20 stories tall.
A wind turbine is so powerful that just one can provide electricity for up to 300 homes at the same time.
The use of renewable energy is not a new technique and some forms have been used for over 2,000 years.
Water is the most commonly used source of renewable energy.
The sun, another source of renewable energy, provides enough energy every hour to provide power for the whole world for an entire year.
The silicon in sand can be used to produce forms of electricity.
Some people believe that by the year 2050, we will have enough renewable energy to meet 95% of our energy needs.
Biodiesel is a type of fuel made from biomass such as vegetable oil and animal fats.
Geothermal energy comes from heat stored deep within the Earth.
The majority of renewable energy is used as a source of electricity.
The more renewable energy we use, the less fossil fuels are needed.
We currently are not able to use more renewable energy sources because typically renewable energy is more expensive to produce than nonrenewable sources.
Renewable energy is also called clean energy because it does not produce pollution.
Solar Energy Facts
Heat from the sun can be captured and used as a form of solar energy. In order for this process to take place, some form of solar technology must be used. There are two types of solar technology: passive and active solar. These types of solar technologies differ in the way in which solar energy is captured.
Interesting Solar Energy Facts:
Solar energy is taken from the light from the Sun's rays that hit the Earth.
Solar energy can be used to make electricity and other forms of energy.
Thermal energy from the sun was first used by British astronomer John Herschel as he used a thermal box to cook food.
In order to heat objects such as swimming pools, solar energy is converted into thermal energy.
Solar cells can directly use sunlight to generate electricity.
Solar energy is a beneficial source of energy because its generation does not affect the environment and nor add to pollution.
Solar energy can sometimes be difficult because the amount of sunlight an area receives varies.
Solar energy is the most plentiful form of energy found on Earth because it is found anywhere the Sun hits.
Although solar energy is abundant, it is difficult and expensive to transform into a usable form.
There is enough solar energy generated by the Sun to fulfill Earth's electrical needs without the use of other forms of energy.
The world's largest solar energy power plant is located in the United States in the state of California.
Passive solar energy does not require any machinery because solar energy is used directly.
With active solar energy, a device is needed that collects solar energy so that it may be pumped into an area.
Since the 1950s, the space shuttle has used solar energy to power its space craft.
It takes less than 10 minutes for the light from the Sun to reach Earth.
Sound Energy Facts
Sound energy is a form of energy that is associated with vibrations of matter. It is a type of mechanical wave which means it requires an object to travel through. This object includes air and water. Sound originates from the vibrations that result after an object applies a force to another object.
Interesting Sound Energy Facts:
Sound produces a relatively low level of energy when compared to other forms of energy.
Because sound produces such a low level of energy it is not used for electricity.
If the vibrational waves of a medium changes, the sound it produces will also change.
Sound is measured in decibels and pascals instead of the tradition unit of energy measurement, the joule.
The intensity of sound energy is usually measured using the perception of a normal hearing person.
The measurement of sound energy is related to its pressure and intensity.
We are able to hear different sound because as the sound (vibrations) enters our ear, the ear also vibrates.
Dogs' ears are more sensitive than human ears which allow them to hear sounds that humans cannot hear.
There is no sound in space because there is no object for sound to travel through.
Sounds travels through a solid much faster than through air.
767 miles per hour is the speed of sound.
Sound travels faster through a liquid such as water faster than it travels through air.
Acoustics is the study of sound waves.
Flies cannot hear at all.
When whales communicate with each other under water, their sound can travel up to 800 km in the ocean.
Thermal Energy Facts-
Thermal energy is the energy that comes from heat. This heat is generated by the movement of tiny particles within an object. The faster these particles move, the more heat is generated. Stoves and matches are examples of objects that conduct thermal energy.
Interesting Thermal Energy Facts:
Thermal energy is a part of the total energy of any object.
Thermal energy is related to the temperature of an object.
The joule is the unit used to measure thermal energy.
Unlike other forms of energy, thermal energy is difficult to convert to other forms of energy.
When thermal energy is transferred from or to an object, it is called heat.
Since heat is known as a process, objects cannot contain heat. Objects contain thermal energy.
In order to convert thermal energy into other forms of energy, a machine such as an engine is needed.
Unlike other forms of energy, the amount of thermal energy is not dependent upon the amount of work an object performs.
As heat from Earth is lost to space, it is replaced by heat brought by the Sun.
Although he was not the first to use the term thermal energy, James Joule receives credit for being the first to discuss the loss and gain of heat.
When you add ice to a warm drink, some of the drinks' thermal energy is transferred to the ice which makes the drink cooler.
Heat and temperature are not the same thing because temperature is related to how hot or cold something is.
Heat energy can be transferred by three ways: convection, conduction, and radiation.
Conductors, such as metals, are objects that allow thermal energy to move easily through them.
Insulators, such as plastic, are objects that do not allow thermal energy to easily move through them.
Wind Energy Facts
Wind energy is an energy source that comes from the wind. This wind is converted into wind power and used as a source of electricity. The process of wind energy conversion is completed by wind turbines, wind pumps, and wind mills. Wind power is a good source of electricity because it is a renewable source and is constantly replenishing itself.
Interesting Wind Energy Facts:
Wind mills date all the way back to the year 2000 BC where they were used in China.
One wind turbine could power up to 500 homes.
The production of wind energy does not produce pollution.
European countries tend to utilize wind energy more than other countries because of their favorable climate conditions.
Unlike other forms of energy, wind energy requires virtually no water during production.
Wind energy is not used more often because it is expensive to produce.
The best places to utilize wind energy are prairies because they receive constant wind.
Albert Betz is a German physicist who discovered the theory of wind energy in 1919.
Wind turbines create electricity while wind mills produce mechanical energy.
Wind turbines have the ability to be located off shore and send energy back to land.
Wind turbines can be as tall as 200 meters and have blades that can move at a speed of up to 200 mph.
Some countries utilize wind turbines to supply up to 20% of their electricity needs.
Wind farms are large groups of wind turbines.
Germany leads all countries in the amount wind energy that is produced per year.
The production of wind energy produces more jobs than any other form of energy production.
Biomass is a type of organic material that can be used as an energy source. Biomass can be used as a direct source of energy via combustion or in a converted form such as biofuel. There are different ways to convert biomass to biofuel, including biochemical, thermal, and chemical. The largest type of biomass is still wood, but biomass can be grown from sugarcane, sorghum, willow, poplar, corn, hemp and a variety of tree species. There are two major categories of biomass including first generation biofuels which involve fermenting the sugar from a source into bioethanol, or second generation biofuels which involve using municipal or agricultural water to create energy.
Interesting Biomass Facts:
Biomass includes anything that was alive on the earth or is alive. This includes all animals and plants.
Biomass derives its energy from the sun, captured in the process called photosynthesis, in which plants convert the suns energy into usable energy for the plant.
Biomass is a renewable source of energy because it can always be regrown provided humans don't destroy the planet through pollution and other activities.
It is possible to use garbage to burn and create energy. This is done in some municipalities and can stop the use of landfills for disposing of garbage.
Biomass can be converted into biogas which can heat homes and provide fuel for stoves.
Biomass can be converted into fuel to run engines and reduce the need for oil.
It is estimated the biomass currently provides almost 15% of the primary energy in the world.
The growing of biomass could provide many jobs in rural communities.
As fossil fuels continue to be depleted the world will have to learn to rely on biomass for more of the energy needs.
Biofuels can be made from a variety of waste products including some waste residues, manure, some crops, debris from the forest, and even scrap lumber.
Biomass can be a liquid or a solid. When biomass is used as fuel it releases the carbon dioxide that was absorbed into the plant while growing. This is referred to as a carbon neutral system.
Biomass has been used as energy since the early days of man when wood was burned for heat and cooking.
In 2012 the United States and Brazil were producing the largest amount of biodiesel and ethanol in the world.
Fermenting algae can produce algal-based fuels that are as much as ten times faster to produce than biofuels created from crops such as soy or corn. Fermented algae can produce hydrogen, biodiesel, methane, ethanol, and butanol.
Researchers at Penn State University have designed a waste-powered generator that can use the human waste of 100,000 people to produce 51 kilowatts of energy.
Biomass energy can reduce acid rain because it does not produce mercury or sulfur and very little nitrogen. This means that biomass energy could also help reduce smog and other air pollutants that are created when coal is burned.
If grown and developed aggressively, biomass could replace the use of gasoline for powering vehicles.
Radiation is a term used to describe the emission or the transmission of energy either through a medium or through space as waves or particles. There are different types of radiation including gravitational radiation, acoustic radiation, particle radiation, or electromagnetic radiation. Radiation is classified as either ionizing or non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation is much more dangerous to living organisms while non-ionizing radiation is lower-energy and is not damaging unless it is strong enough to excessively heat tissues and cells. Examples of ionizing radiation include ultraviolet, X-ray, gamma, alpha, beta, and neutron radiation. Examples of non-ionizing radiation includes UV light, visible light, infrared, microwave, radiowave, and very low frequency radiation.
Interesting Radiation Facts:
Chernobyl's power plant is still emitting radiation. If the containment structure collapses, which is possible, more radioactive emissions will leak out.
NYC's Grand Central Station was made with a huge amount of granite, which emits radiation. There is more radiation in the station that a nuclear power plant would allow.
There are radioactive isotopes in cigarette smoke. A smoker receives the equivalent of 300 chest x-rays every year. This is due to the fertilizer chemicals used to grow tobacco.
In 2004 a neutron star blasted earth with more radiation ever recorded, from 50,000 light years away.
Bananas emit radiation in small amounts.
Flight attendants and pilots are exposed to so much radiation from flying that they are considered radiation workers. They are exposed to more than many who work at nuclear power plants.
The Manhattan project tested the effects of nuclear radiation on people. Babies were fed radioactive oatmeal and some people were injected with it.
Marie Curie discovered radium. She died of radiation effects. It was used at one time in a variety of products including candy and toothpaste.
A man once drank 1,400 bottles a health tonic with radium in it. His jaw fell off.
The American flags placed on the moon have faded o white because of the effects of radiation from the sun.
It is estimated that 1% of the static on an analog TV is from the Big Bang cosmic radiation.
People emit more radiation than their cell phones do.
Most of the radiation people are exposed to daily is not harmful because it is non-ionizing.
Inside the Chernobyl reactors grows a type of fungus that actually thrives on radiation.
A toy released in the 1950s had uranium samples in it. It was called the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory.
One of the firefighters who attended the Chernobyl disaster said his eyes turned blue from the radiation. They were brown before.
10 bananas have the same amount of radiation as a handful of raw uranium ore.
There is a star system called WR 104 that is expected to go supernova in a few thousand years. If its gamma ray burst hits the earth the result may be a mass extinction event.
A person on land receives more radiation than a person in an underground nuclear submarine.
Those living near coal power stations experience more radiation than those living near nuclear power plants.
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