Although the Joule (J) is the universal unit to measure energy, the calorie (cal) is also used , a unit that comes from the English system and is equivalent to 4.18 Joule . The calorie is commonly used in nutrition to explain the energy that can be obtained from assimilating food. The Joule is mainly applied in engineering calculations, a medium in which the practicality of the international system of units is needed.
Examples of types of energy
Humanity takes advantage of different types of energy to provide itself with comforts such as electric lighting and the operation of electrical appliances. Some of them are directly available in nature, such as those that come from the sun, the wind and the movement of bodies of water.
However, since huge quantities are needed to supply large cities with electricity, for example, so-called power plants have been created , which are gigantic facilities in charge of producing one type of energy to transform it into another. In them it is possible to generate them with lower costs and on a larger scale.
Among the types of energy that exist, are:
- Wind power
- Solar energy
- Radiant energy
- Thermal or heat energy
- Kinetic energy
- Potential energy
- Mechanical energy
- Electromagnetic energy
- Electric power
- Internal energy
- Hydraulic energy
- Chemical energy
- Nuclear energy
It is obtained from the movement of the air , that is, the wind. It is collected by means of wind turbines , which are tall propellers that receive the force of the wind to communicate the energy of that turn to an electric generator. Thanks to this transformation, wind energy can be used as electrical energy.
Radiant energy is that of the different types of radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum , such as radio waves, microwaves, infrared rays, visible light, ultraviolet rays, X-rays and gamma rays. Depending on the wavelength of these, it will be the radiant energy that they will contribute. If the wave is shorter, they will have high frequency and energy.
Thermal or heat energy
This energy is what we know as “heat”, and it is the kinetic energy carried by the particles of a substance, and which is transmitted in contact with another less hot substance. This process only occurs in this way and is established by thermodynamics. Thermal energy (heat) is transmitted from the warmer to the less warm body , until thermal equilibrium is achieved .
Solar energy comes from the star king, the sun , and is the mixture of radiant energy and thermal or heat energy that it gives off. It can be used directly to dry wet clothes or cook food in a solar stove, or also using solar cells, systems created to produce electronic excitation and thus gather electricity to supply homes.
Potential energy is that which a body has due to its position . If it is on top of a surface, it will have a certain potential energy. It will be another if it is on top of a mountain or under the sea. When the body goes into motion, this energy will vary and will combine with the kinetic energy, constituting the total energy of the body as a whole.
Kinetic energy is what it contains in a body or substance, due to its movement. This energy will depend on its mass and the speed at which it is traveling, calculated with the following formula: Ec = ½ m * v 2 .
Kinetic energy disappears when the body or substance reaches a state of rest , converting all its energy into potential energy .
Mechanical energy is that contained in the components of a system of moving parts , such as a watch, a bicycle or a car. It is the one that produces a movement between them, which is communicated until a greater purpose is achieved, such as the turning of the hands or the function as a means of transport.
The term “electromagnetic energy”, in addition to being used as a synonym for radiant energy, is applied to define the electrical energy produced in electromagnets , systems that through magnetic fields generate a constant flow of electrical charges, when connected to a source , like a battery.
Electric energy is what electrons carry in motion. These are loads that pass through a conductive material and thus allow the operation of a device, such as a blender, a washing machine, a television or a mobile phone. It is the most important energy for humanity because through it you can obtain both comforts, such as lighting and entertainment; and facilities for work in offices and industrial plants.
In thermodynamics, internal energy is the sum of all the microscopic energies that a system contains. It brings together the kinetic and potential energies of the particles in the system. Knowing this term, it will be possible to add it algebraically to the heat of the system Q or to the mechanical work W that occurs during a process, from the initial state to the final state of that one.
Hydraulic energy is what carries a stream of water . In a dam, for example, gates are opened so that the water passes through them at a higher pressure than if it were before a completely open passage. This energy is used in hydroelectric plants , where the movement of water encourages the movement of turbines, which in turn will generate electrical energy.
Chemical energy is what is manifested during a chemical reaction . It occurs when the bonds between the atoms that make up the reactants are broken , and also when the new substances that make up the products are formed. It can finally present itself in the form of heat or cooling, when the reaction has reached chemical equilibrium.
Nuclear energy is that which comes from the union of protons and neutrons within the nucleus of each atom. This is used in nuclear plants that, by bombarding the nuclei of a radioactive element with a type of radiation (alpha, beta or gamma rays), obtain this energy contained in the nucleus, which is not polluting and can be converted into electrical energy, but if an accident occurs in the plant, the results can be catastrophic due to the high levels of radioactivity that would be dispersed.