Introduction

The Energy Story

 Energy Is Born Energy Types Energy Changes Energy Generation

The Energy Problem

 Conservation of Energy Aging of Energy Finite Resources The Oil "Crisis" Energy Pollution Discussion Topics

The Energy Solution

 Conserving Electricity Appliance Efficiency Heating Conservation Renewable Energy

Teacher Guide

 The Ten Types Spring Energy

 Spring energy is contained in materials and objects that can stretch when a force is placed on them and then later return to their original shape. A graphic of the most well known type of spring is shown below. The spring starts at an unstretched or equilibrium position (x=0). As the spring is stretched from this equilibrium position, spring energy is stored in the spring. The spring can be held until the spring is released and the spring energy is also released. Therefore, spring energy is a form of potential energy. Many materials and objects can act like springs and contain spring energy that can look very different than the typical spring below. Some other examples of objects that act to store spring energy are: a trampoline, shock absorbers, a sling shot, a stretched rubber band, a bow pulled back with an arrow, the tennis strings in tennis or other racquet as the ball hits them, and spandex in your pants.
You might ask why spring energy isn't included under mechanical energy. It turns out that springs are often used in physics, and that there is a specific equation that has been found for caluculating the spring potential energy. The equation is:
 where k = spring constant (a measure of how strong the spring is) x = stretch (how far the spring has stretched from it's equilibrium point)