Fox, William K. Standard Havens Research Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri.
Last reviewed:January 2017
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- Fossil fuels
- Crude petroleum
- Natural gas
- Nuclear energy
- Nuclear fission
- Nuclear fusion
- Solar energy
- Hydro energy
- Tidal energy
- Wind energy
- Ocean energy
- Geothermal energy
- Biomass energy
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Sources from which energy can be obtained to provide heat, light, and power. The term energy is used to describe an amount of work performed. There are two kinds of energy, kinetic energy, meaning work performed by the movement of matter, and potential energy, meaning work that is stored or at rest in matter. In the kinetic or potential state, energy takes on one of five forms: (1) Chemical energy results from changes in the chemical structure of substances, such as during combustion of fuel. (2) Electrical energy results from electrons and protons in motion in a stream called an electric current, or in temporary storage as in a battery or fuel cell. (3) Mechanical energy results from force applied or about to be applied to liquid, solid, or gaseous matter. (4) Thermal energy results from heat being applied to matter. (5) Nuclear fission is the splitting of the nucleus of an atom into two or more parts by collision with neutrons, with the consequent release of the force that binds protons and neutrons of the nucleus together. All living things on Earth depend on one or more of these forms of energy and must look to a wide variety of energy sources. See also: Battery; Chemical energy; Energy
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