Energy is found in many forms almost everywhere, such as electrical, kinetic, thermal, potential, and many other forms. There is also energy in the process of transfer from one way to another, i.e. heat and work. Once energy is transferred, we always name it according to its sort. Therefore, Thermal energy may result from the transfer of heat and work done may take the form of mechanical energy.
Today, we’re examining energy conversion and all the essential features related to it.
How does energy convert?
Energy is the primary demand of our daily life. The quality of life and even its sustainability is reliant on the existence of power. Consequently, we must have a cognitive perception of the diverse sources of energy, the conversion of energy from one form to another and the deduction of these conversions.
Furthermore, energy conversion from one form to another is a familiar phenomenon. The Law of Conservation of energy declares us that the only thing that takes place with energy is the transformation from one form to another. So, we can transform electrical power into heat energy and light energy. Furthermore, we can convert solar energy into chemical energy. And, we can transform potential energy into kinetic energy, etc.
Definition of Energy Conversion is the process where there is a conversion in energy from one form to another. For example, the transformation of light energy into heat or nuclear power into heat energy.
Types of Energy Conversions
There are many types of energy all around us, and these energy sources can be converted from one form to another as explained below:
- Solar energy can change to heat energy, chemical energy, and electrical energy.
- We can convert light energy to heat energy.
- Mechanical energy can be changed to electrical energy, potential energy, etc.
- Electrical energy can be changed to mechanical energy, light energy, heat energy, etc.
- Chemical energy can be changed to electrical power.
- The Gravitational potential energy can be changed to kinetic energy.
- Thermal energy can be changed to heat energy.
- Nuclear energy can be changed to light energy and heat energy.
- Some examples of energy conversion are:
- Moving an automobile is an example of chemical energy change to kinetic energy.
- Production of Electricity using water is an example of potential energy converted into kinetic energy.
- A ball from an altitude towards the ground is an example of potential energy converted into kinetic energy.
- When you boil some liquid using a stove, is an example of electric energy converted into heat energy.
These are some of the modern examples of energy conversion. Now, energy conversion history is also an important matter. Understanding how energy conversion technology has evolved over the years and how early humans used energy conversion by harnessing the natural forms of energy is crucial for understanding it.
The Evolution/History of Energy Conversion
The Use of Fire: The first proof of energy conversion from early times is when early humans learned the use of fire. They fired dried plant, wood, and animal waste and used the resultant energy for food and warming. Humankind followed this process by the use of mechanical energy that was used to control the power of flowing water and wind. This creation of mechanical energy with the invention of necessary devices came much later around 2000 years after humans discovered the use of fire.
Waterwheels: The earliest evidence of a machine being used to grind seed is that of a waterwheel. Humankind later also used to drive sawmills and pumps, driving tilt hammers for forging iron, etc. Waterwheels were the primary means of mechanical power generation, apart from windmills. Therefore, many industrial towns, especially in early America, were set up at locations that guaranteed water flow all year.
Windmills: Apart from waterwheels, some people also used mills as a source of power to replace the animal muscle. Windmills were used in various parts of the world to convert the wind energy into mechanical energy for grinding grain, pumping water, and emptying the valley areas.
Energy Conversion during the Industrial Revolution
Steam Engine: Because of the fast growth of the industry around the mid-18th century, there was an urgent demand for new sources of impulse power, especially those self-governing of geographic area and climate conditions. The steam engine was developed to meet the needs of industry, as the first machine for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy.
Newcomen Engine: A few years later, inventors produced a more fabulous and more useful version of the steam pump which consisted of a cylinder implemented with a piston. Although generators of this kind transformed only about one per cent of the thermal energy in the steam to mechanical energy, they remained matchless for more than 50 years.
Watt’s Engine: After in the later years, inventors adjusted the Newcomer engine by attaching a separate condenser to make it useless to heat and cool the cylinder with each stroke. Because the cylinder and piston remained at steam temperature while the turbine was operating, the fuel expenses diminished by about 75 per cent.
Later various improvements on the current technology for energy conversion were applied, which saw the development of many other technologies. Tools like Stirling engine, Power generators, energy conversion devices, were used to meet the decreasing supplies of natural sources of energy. With the advances of renewable energy sources technologies, these machines are not so popular anymore.
Conservation of Energy
Lastly, understanding the law of Conservation of energy strengthens your primary knowledge. The Conservation of energy is the principle that energy can neither be produced nor extinguished.
It can only be converted from one form to another or transferred from one thing to another. The energy transformation is feasible to all types of energy such as kinetic energy, potential energy, light energy, heat energy, sound energy, nuclear energy, gravitational potential energy etc.
These transformations would happen again and again till the time that resource is already there. The friction effect and the air-pressure are the other factors which can influence the conversion to some degree. Therefore, we can harmlessly say that in the entire system, the total energy remains steady, but only its transformation comes off.
In conclusion, we hope this article provides useful pieces of information to you in learning energy conversion and the several perspectives associated with it.