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Kinetic energy is present whenever an object moves.

Because kinetic energy


has no direction, the three forms of kinetic energy are described only by
magnitude in a unit of measurement called the Joule. The amount of kinetic
energy of an object depends on its weight and rate of speed. It can be
calculated using the formula kinetic energy = 1/2 x mass of the object x
speed of the object, KE = x M x V. Any form of energy can be converted
to a different form of energy.

Rotational Kinetic Energy

Rotational kinetic energy occurs when matter spins around an axis. The second hand on a
watch exhibits rotational energy. The Earth has rotational energy as it spins around its
axis. The moon actually "steals" some of Earth's rotational energy every year to increase
the height of its orbit by 3.8 cm. A yo-yo has rotational energy as it spins before coming
back up the string.

Translational Kinetic Energy


Translational kinetic energy occurs when an object moves from one location to another,
such as a truck driving on the road or the movement of air molecules all around us.
Translational energy is at work when the galaxies expand. An arrow shot by a bow has
translational energy as it moves from the bow to the target.

Vibrational Kinetic Energy

Vibrational kinetic energy is caused when an object is vibrating. Air molecules vibrate in
response to sound, causing them to move in waves. When the sound waves reach the
eardrum, it also vibrates. A cellphone that vibrates in response to a call or text message is
another example of vibrational kinetic energy.

Forms of Kinetic Energy


Kinetic energy appears in different forms. Chemical energy occurs when a chemical
reaction causes atoms and molecules to move. The movement of electrons is electrical
energy. When an object's molecules move, heat energy is produced. Moving light
particles, or waves, are light energy. Nuclear energy results when potential energy held
inside an element's nucleus is released into fast-moving radiation, particles and heat.