ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Kinetic Energy?

Updated on October 2, 2012
Picture of Kinetic Energy
Picture of Kinetic Energy | Source

Definition of Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy as defined by the Merriam Webster online dictionary states, "energy associated with motion." But what does that mean exactly?

According to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University, "Kinetic energy is an expression of the fact that a moving object can do work on anything it hits; it quantifies the amount of work the object could do as a result of its motion."

In layman's terms, kinetic energy is the energy that an object has due to it being in motion. Or better, the energy created by the motion of an object.

Definition of a Joule

A Joule is defined as, "the SI unit of work or energy, equal to the work done by a force of one newton when its point of application moves one meter in the direction of the action of the force, equivalent to one 3600th of a watt-hour ("

How is Kinetic Energy Measured

Kinetic energy is typically measured using the metric system, also known as the SI system (French for Systeme international d'unites).

Mass - measured in kilograms (kg)

Velocity - measured in meters per second (m/s)

Kinetic Energy - measured in Joules (J)

Kinetic Energy Equation
Kinetic Energy Equation

Kinetic Energy Equation

The standard equation for Kinetic Energy is:

Kinetic Energy = 1/2 mv2

Where m = Mass and v = Velocity

Examples of Kinetic Energy

To better understand kinetic energy, here are some examples of kinetic energy

  • Raindrops falling from the sky
  • A bowling ball rolling down the lane
  • A rollercoaster going downhill
  • A bird soaring through the air
  • A cue ball striking other pool balls

Who Discovered Kinetic Energy?

Galilieo Galilei and Isaac Newton, typically, get the credit for discovering kinetic energy. However, Aristotle did contribute to some theories regarding mass and velocity. They were able to figure out how forces were related to each other through motion. Netwon explains kinetic energy through his "laws of motion".

Newton's Three Laws of Motion

  • First Law of Motion (Law of Inertia)- an object in motion will stay in motion, or an object at rest will stay at rest, unless acted upon by a force
  • Second Law of Motion - the acceleration of an object is dependent upon the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object
  • Third Law of Motion - for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

Kinetic Energy Lesson


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Novel Treasure profile image

      Novel Treasure 4 years ago from US

      It must be fate that our paths cross. I will certainly check out the link. I really enjoy science and thinking outside the box, or at least reading about it.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Odd. I think I was in la-la land now NT. Two for one deal or Kansas and Kinetic energy both in the same reply. Something odd is going on. I think after reading this you are ready. Yup. Time for the theory of reciprocity. Do you mind if I post a link? Read it nice and easy like. Remember it is a theory. It has a lot of neat stuff about mass, colors, ethereal, life, death, cosmos, energy, and more. Once you read it think about Green.

      Oh, yeah I enjoyed this hub. I really like the way you use the roller coaster to demonstrate kinetic and potential. Very well written.

      Have fun hubbing. I have noted the green blog you mentioned for an adventure later.


    • Novel Treasure profile image

      Novel Treasure 4 years ago from US

      Glad I could assist you with your homework!

    • profile image

      jerseypike379 4 years ago

      helped me on my phisics homework

    • Novel Treasure profile image

      Novel Treasure 4 years ago from US

      Thanks, it's quite a different topic then what I usually do but I am testing some of the exclusive titles.

    • sriparna profile image

      sriparna 4 years ago from New Delhi

      Thanks for sharing, useful hub for those who want to brush up the basics of kinetic energy.

    Click to Rate This Article