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What is potential energy?(in chemical)

  1. Jun 26, 2004 #1
    what is potential energy?(in chemical)i am learning phyiscs 'heat' but i have some confusing what potential energy. i dont know why in gas state ,its potential energy is greater than in liquid state . Please answer me !thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2004 #2
    The idea of potential energy is like "stored" energy. It includes elastic potential energy, gravitional potential energy and some others.
    If you consider a rubber band, you can imagine yourself storing energy in the rubber band when you stretch it. You can release the energy by realeasing your hand, and you can see the rubber band pull another object, which means that the energy was "stored" was released and converted into the kinetic energy of the object pulled. That's the idea of potential energy, which refers to the energy stored in the rubber band. The potential energy is equal to negative the work done by the conservative force (the rubber band's restoring force).
    In chemistry, there are weak intermolecular attraction forces between particles. That is similar to having a small rubber band pulling them together. In gas state, the particles are much farther apart than in liquid state. That's like a stretched rubber band. So, we say that the potential energy of particles in gas state is much higher than that in liquid state.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2004
  4. Jun 27, 2004 #3
    thanks very much!!!!!thanks very much!!!!!thanks a lot!!!!!!!!thank you very much!!!!!
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