Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is the energy an object possesses due to its motion. It is defined as the work necessary to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to a given velocity. Kinetic energy, as shown by the formula below, is one half the product of mass (m) and velocity squared (v2). Kinetic energy is measured in joules (kg·m2/s2).

EK = 1/2 m v2 kinetic energy E K is equal to half of the mass m, times the speed v to the square

For example, when a rock containing potential energy due to being high on a cliff falls, its potential energy is converted into kinetic energy while the rock falls to the ground. Similarly, when a car is on a highway, the chemical energy in the car's fuel is converted into the kinetic energy of the car's motion. Any moving body maintains a constant kinetic energy as long as its speed does not change. Together, potential energy and kinetic energy make up mechanical energy.

Illustration of a rollercoaster. The rollercoaster car starts on top of a ramp at a height "h", and it's mass is measured in kilograms. It starts rolling down the ramp at a velocity measured in meters per second. On top of the ramp, there is a label saying potential energy and in the middle of the ramp, another one saying kinetic energy.

Figure 1: Potential and Kinetic Energy