Difference between Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy

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Capacity of doing work by a body is called energy. Energy is scalar quantity and its SI unit is Joule. Energy is of many types. Energy can neither be destroyed nor be created. Only energy can be transformed from one form to another form. Whenever energy is utilised in one form equal amount of energy is produced in another form and Total energy of the universe always remains the same. This is called the principle of conservation of energy.

Energy developed in a body due to work done on it is called mechanical energy. Mechanical energy is of two types:

1.Potential energy

2.Kinetic energy

Potential Energy:

The capacity of doing work developed in a body due to its position or configuration is called as potential energy. Example of potential energy is energy of a compressed or stretched Spring & energy of water collected at height. The potential energy can be calculated as follows:

  W= m*g*h =mgh

M is the mass in kilograms

G is the acceleration due to gravity 

H is the height in metres

When compared to kinetic energy, potential energy also have the same units: kg m²/s².

Potential energy was considered with two of the main energies. They are gravitational potential energy and Elastic potential energy.

Kinetic energy:

Energy possessed by a body due to its motion is called Kinetic energy of the body. if a body of mass M is moving with speed V then kinetic energy of the body is 1/2mv. The relationship between Momentum and kinetic energy is clearly when Momentum is doubled kinetic energy becomes 4 times.

K.E= p²/2m

P= momentum =mv

Difference between Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy

Differentiation between potential energy and kinetic energy:

Potential Energy Kinetic Energy
If any object is kept under certain stress and another object respond to that objects energy it is called as potential Energy. If an object is kept in motion its energy can be defined as kinetic energy
Potential energy cannot be transferred from one object to another It can be transferred from one object to another
In potential energy height weight , gravity mass of the object plays a major role in creating potential energy speed and velocity of a object plays a major role
In simple terms potential energy explained as a ball at particular height can possess potential energy the same ball dropping from height possess kinetic energy.
Measured by Joule (J) Measured by Joule (J)


To know briefly about the potential energy and kinetic energy, we can simply tell that potential energy is nothing but when an object gain energy by the other objects stress and any object which is at its motion its energy is called as the Kinetic energy. Both the Potential energy and Kinetic energy are part of the Mechanical energy.

If you want to read more about Difference between Scalar and Vector quantities click here.

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