Energy, Force and Fuel
What is the difference between energy, force and fuel?
Although the words are used in many ways, science has specific definitions
Force is a push or a pull. Force is between objects, one object pushing or
pulling on another.
Energy is more difficult to define, because energy is "abstract". Energy is
a quantity that gives an object the ability to affect other objects. There
are different kinds of energy. Kinetic energy is the energy of motion,
stored within a moving object. Potential energy is stored in the force
between objects, perhaps in the stretch of a spring. Thermal energy can be
stored in the temperature of an object. Energy passes from place to place,
object to object, but never disappears. The total energy of the universe
Fuel is a material that has energy stored in its chemical structure. When
fuel is processes (burned, for example), the chemical energy is released.
This released energy can become heat and cause the temperature of something
to rise. The released energy can become the kinetic energy of a car. It
can become the energy carried by sound to your ears.
Click here to return to the Physics Archives
Update: June 2012