# What are the types of Potential Energy and how to calculate it?

# What are the types of Potential Energy and how to calculate it?

In physics, potential energy is a type of energy. **Energy** is the capacity of doing work. Energy is a process of transferring heat and work from one body to another.

Energy can be found in a variety of places and many forms. Kinetic energy, for example, is the energy associated with mobility, while potential energy is the energy associated with an object’s position or structure. Energy can never be lost, but it can be transformed into different forms.

## What is Potential Energy?

**Potential energy** is the energy of an object or a system as a result of the body’s position or the arrangement of the system’s particles. The **Joule **is the SI unit for measuring work and energy and is written as **j**.

The term **Potential energy **is referring to a system of forces that act on a body in a way based on its position in space. This permits the set of forces to be considered as having a specific vector at each point in space, generating a vector field of forces, or force field. If the work of forces of this type of operating on a body moving from start to an end position is determined only by these two points and does not depend on the trajectory of the body between them, then a function known as a potential can be expressed at two positions to calculate this work.

Potential energy formula is,

**PE = m * g * h**

Where PE = potential energy, m = mass, g = acceleration of gravity, and h = height.

Here g is constant. As the gravitational acceleration of Earth is 9.8 m/sec^{2}.

## Types of Potential Energy

Potential energy has various types.

- Elastics Potential energy
- Electrical Potential energy
- Gravitational Potential energy

### Elastics Potential energy

The energy collected as a result of applying a force to deform an elastic item is known as elastic potential energy. The energy is retained until the force is withdrawn, at that point at which the item returns to its original shape and does not work. The object could be compressed, stretched, and twisted as a result of deformation. For example,

- A wind clock’s coil spring.
- The bow of an archer is stretched out.
- A bouncy ball that has been squeezed as it bounces off a brick wall.
- A toy airplane is powered by a twisted rubber band.

### Electric potential Energy

The energy required to transport a charge against an electric field is known as electrical potential energy. To move a charge deeper in the electric field, you will need more energy.

Consider a large negatively charged plate with a little positively charged particle clinging to it due to electric field. The plate is surrounded by an electric field that attracts all positively charged things while pushing other negatively charged objects away.

### Gravitational Potential Energy

The energy that an object has due to its position in a gravitational field is known as gravitational potential energy. The most common application of gravitational potential energy is for an object at the Earth’s surface with a constant gravitational acceleration of 9.8 m/sec^{2}. Because the gravitational potential energy zero can be chosen at any position (just like the coordinate system zero), the potential energy at a height h above that point is equal to the work necessary to lift the item to that height with no net change in kinetic energy. Because the force needed to raise it is proportional to its weight, as a result, the gravitational potential energy equals the weight multiplied by the height to which it is raised.

Gravitational Potential energy = weight x height

PE = m * g * h

## How to calculate Potential Energy?

To calculate the potential energy, we can follow the formula. By formula, we can calculate potential energy, mass, gravitational acceleration, or height. You can also use a potential energy calculator to save your time. Let’s go through few examples to understand the calculation of potential energy.

**Example 1**

Calculate the Potential energy of a body having 20kg mass, height is 30m, and gravitational acceleration 4 m/sec^{2}.

**Solution **

**Step 1:** identify the values.

m = 20kg

h = 30m

g = 4 m/sec^{2}

**Step 2:** Take formula.

PE = m * g * h

**Step 3:** put the values in formula.

PE = 20 * 30 * 4

= 600 * 4

= 2400 joule (j)

**Example 2**

Calculate the Potential energy of a body having 4kg mass, height is 10m, and gravitational acceleration 0.2 m/sec^{2}.

**Solution **

**Step 1:** identify the values.

m = 4kg

h = 10m

g = 0.2 m/sec^{2}

**Step 2:** Take formula.

PE = m * g * h

**Step 3:** put the values in formula.

PE = 4 * 10 * 0.2

= 40 * 0.2

= 8 joules (j)

**Example 3**

Calculate the mass of a body having potential energy 1600J, height is 40m, and gravitational acceleration 20 m/sec^{2}.

**Solution **

**Step 1:** identify the values.

PE = 1600J

h = 40m

g = 20 m/sec^{2}

**Step 2:** Take formula.

PE = m * g * h

**Step 3:** Rearrange the formula.

m =PE /g * h

**Step 4:** put the values in formula.

m =1600 /20 * 40

= 1600/800

= 16/8

= 2kg

**Example 4**

Calculate the height of a body having potential energy 600J, mass is 10kg, and gravitational acceleration 5 m/sec^{2}.

**Solution **

**Step 1:** identify the values.

PE = 600J

m = 10m

g = 5 m/sec^{2}

**Step 2:** Take formula.

PE = m * g * h

**Step 3:** Rearrange the formula.

h =PE /g * m

**Step 4:** put the values in formula.

h = 600 /5 * 10

= 600/50

= 60/5

= 12m

**Example 5**

Calculate the gravitational acceleration of a body having potential energy 900J, mass is 30kg, and height is 10m.

**Solution **

**Step 1:** identify the values.

PE = 900J

h = 10m

m = 30kg

**Step 2:** Take formula.

PE = m * g * h

**Step 3:** Rearrange the formula.

g =PE /h * m

**Step 4:** put the values in formula.

g = 900 /10 * 30

= 900/300

= 9/3

= 3 m/sec^{2}

## Summary

Potential energy is a form of energy and is defined as the energy of an object or a system as a result of the body’s position or the arrangement of the system’s particles. SI unit of potential energy is Joule. Potential energy has various types such as elastic potential energy, electric potential energy, and gravitational potential energy. By using the formula, PE = m * g * h, we can easily calculate the potential energy, mass, height, and gravitational acceleration of a body.