5. Potential and Kinetic Energy

The Science

With the specifics and variations out of the way, let’s examine energy further by considering how potential energy is described in other forms of studies. 

What Is Potential Energy in Physics? 

In physics, potential energy is the stored energy in an object due to its position relative to some zero position, which is an arbitrarily assigned position like the ground. It adheres to several physics-related laws, such as the law of conservation of energy and the first law of thermodynamics, which state that energy is always conserved and cannot be created or destroyed.

What Is Potential Energy in Chemistry? 

Chemical potential energy is the stored energy in the chemical bonds of a substance and is broken down through different chemical reactions. The newly generated chemical energy is used in different ways, also known as work.

Work is energy in motion. Hence, chemical potential energy remains true to the basic law: potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and never created or destroyed. 

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