Kinetic Energy vs. Potential Energy: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

As we know that energy is the capacity of the physical system to perform different tasks, without it no work can be done. When the work is done, the energy gets transferred from one body to the other as the external force, or sources always apply in the process of the work done. At the same time, it should be kept mentioned that the energy can neither be created nor be destroyed. Around everything in the world possesses energy, but that doesn’t mean that energy always makes sure the work was done. The energy can even be stored within the body. By object’s status with even possessing the energy, we mainly have two types of energy. One of which is the kinetic energy and the other is the potential energy. As both of them have the SI unit joule, people often found it difficult to differentiate it between both the types of energy. Kinetic energy is the type of energy, which a body possesses by the property of being in the motion. Contrary to this, the potential energy is the type of energy, which a body possesses by virtue of its position is known as the potential energy.

Comparison Chart

Kinetic Energy Potential Energy
Definition Kinetic energy is the type of energy, which a body possesses by the property of being in the motion. The potential energy is the type of energy, which a body possesses by virtue of its position is known as the potential energy.
Transferable  Yes  Potential energy is non-transferable from one object to the other.
Relative to the  Kinetic energy is evaluated according to the environment of the object. Potential energy is the non-relative to the environment of the object.
Types Vibrational energy, rotational energy, and the translational energy. Elastic energy, gravitational energy, electrical energy, chemical energy and the nuclear energy.
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What is Kinetic Energy?

The kinetic energy is the type of energy which a body possesses due to the virtue of being in the motion. In other words, we can say that the kinetic energy keeps the object in the motion. The motion of the object is evaluated with relation to the environment of the object. If the object changes its position with respect to the environment, then it is said to be in the motion. When the object is in the position of rest, and we pull it, but due to a heavy mass, it doesn’t move. To make it move we apply more of the force on it. At last, the object gets in the motion. In all this process, the energy is transferred from the one body to the other to produce acceleration in the object carrying certain mass is known as the kinetic energy. The kinetic energy is directly dependent on the speed and mass; the greater the speed and the mass, the more the kinetic energy of the body. When the moving object finally stops, in then the kinetic energy gets converted into the potential energy which puts an object on the rest. A misconception here prevails that the energy comes to an end, so the movement of the object stops, but that is not the case as the energy can’t be created nor be destroyed. The energy changes its phase from the kinetic energy to the potential energy, which leads the object to the position of rest. The main types of kinetic energy are vibrational energy, rotational energy, and the translational energy.

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What is Potential Energy?

The energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors are known as the potential energy.In other words, we can say that the potential energy tries to keep the object is the state of rest. It works as an antagonist to the motion and the kinetic energy; if the speed of the moving object increases it means the potential energy has decreased. On the other hand, when the speed of the moving object increases, the potential energy increases. The potential energy is also known a the restoring energy as it brings back the object in the original state, the state of rest. The further types of the potential energy are elastic energy, gravitational energy, electrical energy, chemical energy and the nuclear energy.

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Kinetic Energy vs. Potential Energy

  • Kinetic energy is the type of energy, which a body possesses by the property of being in the motion. Contrary to this, the potential energy is the type of energy, which a body possesses by virtue of its position is known as the potential energy.
  • The kinetic energy can get a transfer from one object to the other while potential energy is non-transferable from one object to the other.
  • Kinetic energy is evaluated according to the environment of the object, whereas potential energy is the non-relative to the environment of the object.
  • Types of the potential energy are elastic energy, gravitational energy, electrical energy, chemical energy and the nuclear energy. The main types of kinetic energy are vibrational energy, rotational energy, and the translational energy.

Explanatory Video

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