Now that we’ve reviewed the basics, it’s time to focus on the specifics. Below, we’ll explain some of the most common forms of energy to show why they have potential or kinetic energy.
What Is the Potential Energy of an Electron?
Everything in the universe is made up of atoms. These atoms are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons, which give them the power to transfer kinetic energy.
Every atom has a nucleus around which the electrons orbit. Since these electrons are always in motion, they have kinetic energy. But things change, albeit temporarily, when you apply pressure or energy to the atom.
You see, the kinetic energy of the electrons increases when pressure is applied, causing them to move faster, ultimately making them jump into a wider orbit. After this, every electron will have stored energy that will become its potential energy.
As this whole arrangement is temporary, the electron will release this potential energy, converting it into kinetic energy while returning to its previously smaller orbit. This is also why the total energy of an electron is the sum of its potential energy and kinetic energy.