Copyright

Kinetic Energy: Examples & Definition

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Kinetic Energy & Motion
  • 2:05 Factors Affecting Energy
  • 3:12 Types of Kinetic Energy
  • 3:41 Lesson Summary
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Basa
To knock down a set of bowling pins, what must be true about the bowling ball? It must be moving! This lesson discusses the energy perspective of this simple truth: kinetic energy.

Kinetic Energy and Motion

Would you believe me if I told you that, without kinetic energy there would be no music in the world? No food? No life?

When you think of a moving object, what comes to mind: a person walking down the street or the moon orbiting Earth? Perhaps cars racing on a track or the whipping wind of a massive storm? If we tried to list all objects in motion, or objects that are capable of motion, we would find that absolutely every piece of matter in existence would be on that list.

You might be thinking that, at the moment, your desk is not moving and neither are your walls, for that matter. Sure, a desk can fall down the stairs and walls can crumble, but presently, they do not seem to be moving. Yet, if we think carefully about the atoms that make up these objects, you will realize that, because motion exists in every atom (since electrons orbit every nucleus), so does motion exist in every object. Of course, motion can happen in a myriad of ways—from atomic to planetary— and everything in between.

So what does all of this motion have to do with kinetic energy? Here it is: motion is kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the energy something has because it is moving. With energy, things can do work. The bowling ball only knocks over the pins because of its movement, or kinetic energy.

A wrecking ball demolishes a building because it is in motion. Liquid water becomes steam because the molecules move faster and faster until they change phase. Every cell in your body was built and functions with moving parts. Can you see how endless this is? Kinetic energy has that much of a massive presence in the universe; it is that integral to both life on Earth and to how non-living objects interact and impact other things.

The two main types of energy in the universe are kinetic and potential. Kinetic as just explained is the energy of motion. Potential energy is stored energy, meaning an object's capacity for work.

Factors Affecting Kinetic Energy

Does every moving object have the same amount of kinetic energy? Let's think about that bowling ball again. If you rolled a golf ball down the bowling lane at the same speed of an average bowling ball, would the pins still fall? Probably not. What about a pea? Definitely not. This tells us that how much kinetic energy something has is clearly related to its mass. Would you flinch at the kinetic energy of a falling feather? Objects with less mass have less kinetic energy than objects with more mass moving at the same speed.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 49 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Click "next lesson" whenever you finish a lesson and quiz. Got It
You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring. Got It
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate,and you'll be done before you know it.
1
The first step is always the hardest! Congrats on finishing your first lesson. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
5
Way to go! If you watch at least 30 minutes of lessons each day you'll master your goals before you know it. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
10
Congratulations on earning a badge for watching 10 videos but you've only scratched the surface. Keep it up! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
20
You've just watched 20 videos and earned a badge for your accomplishment! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
50
You've just earned a badge for watching 50 different lessons. Keep it up, you're making great progress! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
100
You just watched your 100th video lesson. You have earned a badge for this achievement! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
200
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 200th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
300
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 300th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
500
You are a superstar! You have earned the prestigious 500 video lessons watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
1K
Incredible. You have just entered the exclusive club and earned the 1000 videos watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
20
You have earned a badge for watching 20 minutes of lessons.
50
You have earned a badge for watching 50 minutes of lessons.
100
You have earned a badge for watching 100 minutes of lessons.
250
You have earned a badge for watching 250 minutes of lessons.
500
You have earned a badge for watching 500 minutes of lessons.
1K
You have earned a badge for watching 1000 minutes of lessons.