Energy is the building block of all activities in the universe. Anything we do requires energy. As such, it is important to understand what exactly energy conversion means, how it works and what are the consequences of it.
The law of Conversion of Energy
The law of conversion of energy is one of the fundamental laws of Physics. It states that energy can neither be created, nor destroyed. It is merely transferred from one form to another. It implies that in a closed system, the net total energy will always remain constant.
The production of light from a bulb is one of the examples of energy conversions from one form to another. Here, electric energy is transformed into light and heat energies.
Albert Einstein’s Theory of relativity proved that energy and mass are connected and that one can be converted into another.
To understand the concept of conversion of energy, we first need to know how many types of energy there are.
Types of energy conversions
In theory, any kind of energy can be converted into any other kind. The various types of energies are listed below:
- Sound energy ( from sound waves)
- Mechanical energy (walking, running)
- Electrical energy (from the movement of electrons in an atom)
- Light energy
- Nuclear energy (nuclear fusion and fission)
- Thermal energy ( from heat)
- Chemical energy (fuel, gas, battery)
If we look around ourselves, we can see different energy conversions even in our daily lives. From the electric lamp and television to the windmill and solar panel, everything uses the principle of conversion of energy to do meaningful things.
Examples of energy conversions
Though there are countless examples of energy conversion, let us look at some of the common forms of energy conversion.
- The sun transforms nuclear energy into electromagnetic energy (light, gamma rays, ultraviolet rays) and thermal energy.
- Wind turbines convert mechanical energy of the wind to produce electrical energy.
- A microwave transforms electrical energy into thermal energy.
- The chemical energy of the food we eat is converted into mechanical energy which helps us to do work and thermal energy, which keeps us warm.
- During the process of photosynthesis, light energy is converted into chemical energy.