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Potential Energy

Definition - What does Potential Energy mean?

An object that has no inherent energy of its own can have potential energy as a result of its position. The position in which the object is held results in potential energy that can be released in order to fulfil its potential or restrained in order to prevent it from doing so.

Safeopedia explains Potential Energy

Potential energy is measured in joules and can be determined by using the equation PE = mgh. That is to say, Potential Energy is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the gravitational force exerted and its height above the surface of the earth.

The process of potential energy being released can be seen when dropping an object. The higher above the ground's surface the object is held, the greater its speed and impact when it contacts the surface. Heavier items fall faster and harder than lighter items. The only constant is the gravitational acceleration of the earth, which is 9.8 meters per second.

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