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Energy comes in many forms. Some like wind and sun energy are around you every day. Others may be less familiar forms of energy? Want to learn more? Read on.

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Forms of Energy

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Waves of Energy

Energy often moves. Energy can be carried from one place to another place by waves, electric currents, sound waves, and moving objects. Energy can move through air, water, wires, and even our bodies.

   Energy waves       

Energy forms    

     Ocean waves


Light is a kind of energy that moves from the sun to the Earth. Sound is another kind of energy that moves from our mouths to the ears of people when we speak.

Kinds of Waves

Energy moves through air, water and also our bodies. The wind moving over water makes waves on its surface. Sometimes the waves are small at other times they are big enough to toss a boat about.

Waves rock a boat

You may also have experienced making your own waves in a bathtub as you move around. Waves move in the form of high and low curves. Some other waves are like a coiled spring in a toy.

Waves of a spring

Energy often moves. Light and sound are two forms of energy, which move in the form of waves. Light waves move as up and down waves. Sound waves move as back and forth waves like a coiled spring toy.

Sound Waves

Sound is a kind of energy that travels in waves. Think of the sounds you hear every day, like the voice of a friend, the jingle of a bell, the buzz of an insect, and the song on a radio. All these sounds seem different but travel in waves. When an object begins to vibrate, the air around the object vibrates too. Waves of the vibrating object reach our ears and our brains interpret the sound. As the storm is coming towards you, you would probably see the lightning before you hear the thunder. This shows that light travels faster than sound.

Sound waves            Sound waves               Sound waves

Light Waves

Light is also a form of energy. It helps us to see things around. It comes from several sources. But sun is the most important source of light. In the absence of the sunlight we use candles and lamps. Light has something in common with water waves. When you throw a pebble into a pond, ripples move away from where the pebble hit. In a similar manner light waves move away from a light source. Light waves travel until they hit an object and bounce off, so that we can see the object. Light waves move too fast for us to see them. They move at a rate of 300,000 kms /sec. Light travels through air, space and clear materials like glass and water.

Light waves                Energy from lightening                     Light waves

Energy can move as electricity

Light is another form of energy, which travels in waves. Electricity is produced in energy companies and sent to our homes. This can be utilized by plugging something into a socket. This energy can be easily changed into many forms. It can be used to start a car, light a lamp, to turn a fan, or to make your favorite toy car move.

Electrical energy                   Electrical energy

Energy can move as heat

We generally say, it is very hot outside or my soup is cold. You know what hot and cold feel like. Do you know what causes this? It is heat. Every atom or particle in matter has energy. The total energy of moving atoms in matter is called thermal energy. A cup of something that is hot has more thermal energy than a same cup of something that is cold. The movement of thermal energy from one place to another is called as heat. There are many ways of producing thermal energy. Burning a fuel, lighting a gas stove or by rubbing your palms together.

Heat energy

Different forms of Energy

Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric energy is created by harnessing the power of water. Energy comes in two forms: potential energy and kinetic energy. Potential energy is stored inside something such as oil, gas or other fuels. Anything high above the ground also has potential energy since gravity will cause it to fall. Kinetic energy is within something that is moving.

Hydroelectric dam                      Hydroelectric power plant

This conversion of energy is at the heart of all sources of energy, including hydroelectric power. In hydroelectric energy, electricity is created from the potential energy stored in water by dams or similar structures. These dams hold back water creating a significant height difference, creating potential energy as a result of gravity. Hydroelectric energy also takes advantage of the kinetic, or motion energy of water as it drops from the top of a dam to the bottom, traveling through large turbines.

Wind Energy

Wind generators are another form of renewable energy sources. Wind generators use large turbines that look like the propeller of an airplane. Strong winds blowing over the blades cause them to rotate creating energy, which is converted into electricity.

Wind turbine

Wind energy is clean, non-polluting and the fastest growing source of electricity in the world. It is reliable and renewable.

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power already generates close to 20 percent of the worlds energy. Nuclear power creates energy in a way similar to how the Sun creates energy. Nuclear power plants use a process called "nuclear fission" in which uranium atoms are slit, giving off protons, neutrons and tiny particles of energy. This energy is captured and used to generate electricity.

Nuclear energy

One major concern about nuclear energy is the radioactive waste that is created in the process. This waste is harmful to people and must be carefully disposed off for safety reasons. Scientists are still trying to develop the ability to create energy using a nuclear fusion process as used by the Sun. Nuclear fusion should generate less radioactive waste.

Solar Energy

Scientists are constantly trying to develop other renewable forms of energy such as solar energy. Solar energy uses solar panels to capture energy from the Sun's rays and convert it into electricity. Solar energy constitutes only a very small part of the energy we consume.

Solar energy


Books on Forms of Energy

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Other links on Forms of Energy

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Energy http://www.aecl.ca/kidszone/atomicenergy/energy/index.asp
What is energy? http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/whatsenergy.html
Solar energy http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/solar.html
Forms of energy http://users.freshpond.net/j/jrobichaud@pollardschooldotcom/energyunit.html

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