Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information....

Converting one form of energy to another

Dropping a rock: The rock loses energy because of its changing position with respect to the earth. Nearly all that energy is transformed into energy of motion, except for a small amount lost to heat created by air friction.

Sliding in to home base: The runner's energy of motion is nearly all converted into heat via friction with the ground.

Accelerating a car: The gasoline has energy stored in it, which is released as heat by burning it inside the engine. Perhaps 10% of this heat energy is converted into the car's energy of motion. The rest remains in the form of heat, which is carried away by the exhaust.

Cruising in a car: As you cruise at constant speed in your car, all the energy of the burning gas is being converted into heat. The tires and engine get hot, and heat is also dissipated into the air through the radiator and the exhaust.

Stepping on the brakes: All the energy of the car's motion is converted into heat in the brake

Last Update: 2009-06-21