Since the beginning of time, energy has pervaded our earth. These days we rely on it to advance in our technological developments. We also need energy for a variety of other things such as: to keep our bodies alive and healthy, to run our machines and other technical devices, we also rely on energy to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. Energy is the ability to do work. People and other things can run out of energy (e.g. a marathon runner) in which case they can no longer have the ability to do work. In a mechanical situation, if a machine has the energy it has the ability to apply a force to another body. There are many different forms of energy and there are many different places by which energy can be gathered. Forms of energy include: Potential energy, kinetic energy, gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy and there are many more. Energy can be gathered in many ways using our natural recourses from the environment, for example, solar energy (from the sun) and hydroelectricity (where electricity is gathered by rushing water)
Hydroelectricity is when electricity is generated by rotating coils of wire (rotors) between the poles of a magnet. The rotors are turned by rushing water falling over them. In a hydroelectric plant, water in usually stored in a damn. As the water falls down and rushes over the vanes connected to the rotors it loses gravitational potential energy and gains kinetic energy. As the metal wire rotates around the magnet it generates electricity which is then sent along power lines to all areas of the city or town.
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Here is a description of the transformation of energy as a pole-vaulter completes a jump. Firstly, when the pole-vaulter runs forward the muscles in the legs are doing work as a result of energy to push him/her forward. As the pole digs into the ground and stops, the forward motion of the runner causes the pole to bend, giving it elastic potential energy. If the pole-vaulter were to let go of the pole at this point, the pole release upwards rapidly. As he/she jumps off the ground, it slowly releases the elastic potential energy of the pole and transforms it into kinetic energy, forcing the pole-vaulter upward and forward. If he/she jumps too early, there would not be enough elastic potential energy created to force him/her over the bar. Also if the pole-vaulter doesn’t run fast enough, there will not be the required kinetic energy to force him/her forward over the bar.
Conservation of energy also has another meaning and that is to ‘save’ energy. As natural energy sources become scarcer it is important to learn how to save energy. One way of doing this is to create an energy-efficient home. To create an energy-efficient home there are many measures that can be taken to save energy, they include solar energy, as the sun is a constant natural energy resource we can store that energy and use it to heat our water. ‘Sleep mode’ on computers, computers are definitely becoming more and more popular in homes, if and only if the computer needs to be on at all times you should use the sleep mode which lets the computer run on the minimum amount if the energy needed. Last but not least, energy can be conserved by doing the simple things around the home to lessen the usage of the machines that do work: example, turning applications off at the PowerPoint instead of just at the switch on the appliance and shutting all windows and doors and closing all curtains to keep the heat in the house instead of relying on the heater to do all the work, and vice-versa in the summer, to open all the windows and doors to let the cool air in instead of relying on the air conditioner.
It is important for all people to realize the need for conserving energy. It is impossible for all the natural resources to keep up with our forever advancing civilization, and supply us with the energy that we need.
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