Monday, December 26, 2011

Energy Transformation

This is an important concept you must know, it is studied in the firsts courses or High school and University, but still a very hard topic to understand. the hardest course about energy i took was Thermodynamics.

Matter and Energy

The entire Universe is formed by matter and energy. The matter is relatively easy to distinguish: wood, plastic, water or steal are different examples of matter; but the energy is a harder thing to describe and define. In our everyday lives we rarely stumble upon pure energy, but with the effects of it over matter. The water of a mountain river has energy because it is capable of moving rocks, but when it gets to the plain and calms down it can no longer do anything: it has lost its energy. A new battery can light a bulb, but after hours of work it stops: it has consumed all the battery energy.

Even though we can only explain energy through its effects, we can measure it. We can know, for example, the amount of energy that there is in the water hold in a dam, in a gallon of gasoline or in a battery.
The light, from the Sun or from devices made by man, is one of the purest forms of energy. Its effects are present constantly in our lives. Today we can see how this type of energy is being used, with solar panels, the energy efficiency of these devices is still low but in the next years we can expect improvements on it.

One of the ways to recognize energy is by its capability to perform a work. A brick in the ground doesn’t have energy, but if we lift it, it has stored energy that will be released upon drop. To break a nut, you have to apply a force on it. If you put a nut in the ground and drop the brick, the nut will break. The work of breaking the nut has been performed by the brick with the energy you transmitted to it when you lifted it.

The water in a dam looks placid and calm, but it has an enormous amount of energy stored. When the gates open, the water goes out with extremely force. If we channel towards a turbine, we can take advantage to make clean energy, but if the dam breaks it can destroy everything on its path.

The solar energy hits the Earth in the form of light and heat; the plants use it for their growth. On this wheat field the solar energy is transformed into substances on the grains that are used as food.

Source: Ciencia Recreativa (1992) - Planeta Agostini 


BragonDorn said...

wow! very cool! I didn't know any of this :)

The Piggie said...

Wow, I had to reread this a couple times to make sure I understood it, great work.

Vague Raconteur said...

This is more along the lines of basic physics than chemistry, but still useful information!

EssentialUnderground said...

Ineteresting not sure I understand it all though!

Anonymous said...

very helpful, thanks!!

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