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The Collaborative International Dictionary
Potential energy

Potential \Po*ten"tial\, a. [Cf. F. potentiel. See Potency.]

  1. Being potent; endowed with energy adequate to a result; efficacious; influential. [Obs.] ``And hath in his effect a voice potential.''

  2. Existing in possibility, not in actuality. ``A potential hero.''

    Potential existence means merely that the thing may be at ome time; actual existence, that it now is.
    --Sir W. Hamilton.

    Potential cautery. See under Cautery.

    Potential energy. (Mech.) See the Note under Energy.

    Potential mood, or Potential mode (Gram.), that form of the verb which is used to express possibility, liberty, power, will, obligation, or necessity, by the use of may, can, must, might, could, would, or should; as, I may go; he can write.

potential energy

n. the energy possessed by an object because of its position (in a gravitational or electric field), or its condition (as a stretched or compressed spring, as a chemical reactant, or by having rest mass)

potential energy

n. the mechanical energy that a body has by virtue of its position; stored energy [syn: P.E.]

Potential energy

In physics, potential energy is energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors. Common types include the gravitational potential energy of an object that depends on its mass and its distance from the center of mass of another object, the elastic potential energy of an extended spring, and the electric potential energy of an electric charge in an electric field. The unit for energy in the International System of Units (SI) is the joule, which has the symbol J.

The term potential energy was introduced by the 19th century Scottish engineer and physicist William Rankine, although it has links to Greek philosopher Aristotle's concept of potentiality. Potential energy is associated with forces that act on a body in a way that depends only on the body's position in space. These forces can be represented by a vector at every point in space forming a vector field of forces, or a force field.

If the work of a force field acting on a body that moves from a start to an end position is determined only by these two positions, and does not depend on the trajectory of the body, then there is a function known as potential energy that can be evaluated at the two positions to determine this work. Furthermore, the force field is determined by this potential energy and is described as derivable from a potential.

Usage examples of "potential energy".

For example, once a cannon has been fired, its usable or potential energy is lost.

There would be a gigantic release of gravitational potential energy.

What a potential energy source, Nomuri thought, as he turned the key in his company Nissan.

I closed my eyes because, when looking upon the school, I was somehow soliciting the release of the pictures of oncoming destruction that were locked in its walls, an infinite store of occult images like a great charge of potential energy that was at the critical point of kinetic transformation.

Stuff like potential energy, thats one aspect of crisis energy, one tiny partial manifestation.

Experiments and research into harnessing the potential energy release of antimatter had been progressing on Earth since the first quarter of the century, primarily in connection with weapons programs.

When transformed into a real-time analog, Thomson's A-Potential energy easily overwhelmed the Ichton defenses.

Physics provides a definite lower limit for the energy you must expend, it's the difference between the 'potential energy' of a mass placed at the neutral point and the potential energy of the same mass placed on the ground.

Then I remembered that Alicia had an old booth, the kind that can't absorb a difference in potential energy.

Again, from summit to summit there will be one and only one line that preserves the maximum potential energy for that level.