Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does the type of energy depend on the particle carying it?

  1. Mar 14, 2005 #1
    does the type of energy depend on the particle carying it???

    assuming that electricity is carried by electrons and light is carried by photons, do all types of energy rely on matter to exist???

    and can one type of particle carry several types of energy???
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2005 #2
    "types of energy"?

    i've never heard such thing before.
  4. Mar 14, 2005 #3
    Electricity is a very loose definition. Do you mean Current? Voltage? Charge?

    I wouldn't say light is carried by photons either. Rather, light/em radiation can be described in terms of photons.

    Also a photon is not matter. Matter has mass, and as far as we know, photons have no mass.

    So by this logic, no energy does not rely on matter to exist.
    But I do not know what you mean by types of energy.

    A particle can have energy from it's momentum(kinetic energy), and it would have a zero point energy. If it was in a potential well, that would also be taken into account. But they are not distinguishable in the sense you can say "Ah look at that, it's Kinetic Energy!"
  5. Mar 14, 2005 #4
    by types i meant chemical/electrical/light/thermal

    sorry im only 15, so anything i don't get i probably haven't been taught, but from what i've picked up, energy is 'carried' by electrons in circuits
  6. Mar 14, 2005 #5
    i see... these names refer to the "role"s of energy, closely related to affects of the energy, not types of energy.

    there has been different discussions on nature of energy, such as existence of negative energy, dark matter, etc. but these topics are beyond my current knowledge (well, i'm a student, not a prof).
  7. Mar 14, 2005 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    You are incorrect. It is perfectly acceptable to call chemical potential, gravitational potential, sound, heat, etc. "types" of energy.


    There are two issues. One, the term "energy" means only "the ability to do work." Energy does not necessarily have anything to do with particles, mass, or matter. Sure, bowling balls have mass, and they carry kinetic energy when they're thrown down a lane, but that doesn't mean all energy requires mass. Light, for example, has no mass, but certainly has energy. Magnetic fields can store energy, but they're made of neither atoms nor photons nor particles of any kind -- they have nothing to do with matter at all, but they can still store energy. If a system has energy, it just means that the system is configured in a way that work can be done, and that's the most definite definition that anyone can give you.

    The second issue, which kirovman pointed out, is that the word "electricity" is a sloppy word commonly used to mean any of at least six different precise things.

    - Warren
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Does the type of energy depend on the particle carying it?
  1. Energy types (Replies: 44)