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Homework Help: Potential energy in solids,liquids and gases

  1. Feb 10, 2016 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Is the potential energy between atoms in solids, liquids and gases, elastic or electrical? I've read in some sources that for solids, p.e. > k.e. because it has the strongest intermolecular forces among the three states of matter. So I'm assuming it is elastic potential energy as it involves inter-atomic forces.
    But some other sources states that if we heat a stone, it gains both kinetic and electrical potential energy. So is it elastic or electrical?
    I'm really confused. Hope to clear this doubt soon .. Thanks in advance !
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2016 #2
    I won't pretend to be educated in molecular theory but it seems reasonable to imagine that electrons are bound to atoms in a gravitational/magnetic field. This could imply that potential energy is electrical in nature and that even elastic potential would be a result of that reaction at the atomic level.
  4. Feb 11, 2016 #3
    How does elastic potential be of a result of that reaction at the atomic level?
    To clarify, intermolecular force results in electrical or elastic potential energy?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  5. Feb 14, 2016 #4
    I would suspect that elastic properties would be the result of the desire for electrons to wish to be attached to neighboring atoms or at least, to resist the urge to jump to neighboring atoms when it is more efficient not to.

    Again, I am not a molecular science guru but elastic energy is the response to being stretched in that it is the equal and opposite force striving to return to equilibrium, unless there is a better definition of the mechanism that creates this potential energy?

    I'm not clear on how Kinetic energy would relate to your question.
  6. Feb 15, 2016 #5
    Oh I see
    Ok thanks for your help.
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