Chemical Energy Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Emily Lockhart

Emily has taught science and has a master's degree in education.

This lesson defines and gives many examples of chemical energy. Chemical energy is just one of many forms of energy and involves chemicals. Examples range from food to fuel.

Understanding Chemical Energy

After eating a big candy bar, you might notice that you have lots of energy. This is because the foods you eat contain chemical energy, or energy that is stored in chemicals and released when broken apart or rearranged.

These chemicals come in the form of atoms or molecules. Atoms are the smallest unit of any object in the universe that link together to form molecules. When bonds between molecules break apart, they rearrange themselves and release chemical energy. This process is known as a chemical reaction.

Breaking Molecules

When you chew on that delicious candy bar, your teeth and the muscles in your jaw break down food into the smallest pieces possible. Once inside your stomach and small intestine, acids and enzymes continue to break down food in order take out the highest energy-producing molecules. During digestion, your body harvests high-energy molecules and stores them until you need them.

When your body requires energy, bonds between molecules break down and rearrange the atoms into different molecules that release energy. Some of the energy will be released as heat or transferred and stored in new molecules to be used later. Some of the energy may even be used to power the muscles in your jaw so you can eat and harvest the chemical energy from more food.

During a chemical reaction, bonds break down and molecules rearrange and release energy
BrokenBonds

Stored Chemical Energy

Stored chemical energy means that there is a potential for a molecule to release energy and create a new product. For example, there is a lot of potential chemical energy stored in dry forests. If a small spark starts a forest fire, energy is produced in the form of heat and light. Ash is the new product that is left over after the chemical reaction is over.

Energy being released as heat and light
WoodFire

Examples of Chemical Energy

Explosives have a lot of stored chemical energy. A small spark can emit energy in the form of sound, earth movements and heat. The reaction occurs between the molecules in the explosives and the spark. The products of the reaction are the energy produced and the burnt explosives.

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

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 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.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support