Energy and Matter

How would we survive without energy? We wouldn't! Much of our world from our personal lives to businesses depend heavily on energy. How is energy created? What types of energy is there. Want to learn more? Read on.

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Energy and the Sun

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Most of the energy on Earth comes originally from the Sun. How is energy create? Nuclear fusion in the Sun's core converts hydrogen into helium and other substances. During the fusion process matter is converted to energy in the form of heat and light.

Energy and matter have multiple forms and can be changed from one form to another. When you turn on a light, you are converting electrical energy into heat and light energy.

This electrical energy comes from a power plant where it was converted from other sources such as water, oil and gas, nuclear, solar or wind energy.


Hydro-Electric Energy

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Hydro-electric energy is created by harnessing the power of water. Energy comes in two forms: potential energy and kinetic energy. Potential energy is store inside something such as oil, gas or other fuels. Anything high above the ground also has potential energy since gravity will cause it to fall. Kinetic energy is within something that is moving.

This conversion of energy is at the heart of all sources of energy, including hydro-electric power.

In hydro-electric energy, electricity is created from the potential energy stored in water by dams or similar structures. These dams hold back water creating a significant height difference, creating potential energy as a result of gravity. Hydro-electric energy also takes advantage of the kinetic, or motion energy of water as it drops from the top of a dam to the bottom, traveling through large turbines.


Oil, Gas and Coal Energy

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Over 80 percent of the world's energy comes from burning fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal. These fossil fuels were formed millions of years ago from the remains of plants and animals. These fuels are burned to create heat and electricity.

Since it took millions of years to create these fossil fuels, we are using them faster than they are being created. These fuels will eventually be used up and gone. This has led many people and companies to start developing more renewable forms of energy.



Nuclear Power

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Nuclear power already generates close to 20 percent of the worlds energy. Nuclear power creates energy in a way similar to how the Sun creates energy. Nuclear power plants use a process called "nuclear fission" in which uranium atoms are slit, giving off protons, neutrons and tiny particles of energy. This energy is captured and used to generate electricity.

One major concern about nuclear energy is the radioactive waste that is created in the process. This waste is harmful to people and must be carefully dispose disposed of for safety reasons. Scientists are still trying to develop the ability to create energy using a nuclear fusion process as used by the Sun. Nuclear fusion should generate less radioactive waste.


Solar Energy

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Scientists are constantly trying to develop other renewable forms of energy such as solar energy. Solar energy uses solar panels to capture energy from the Sun's rays and convert it into electricity.

Solar energy generates only a very small part of the energy we consume.


Wind Energy

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Wind generators are another form of renewable energy. Wind generators use large turbines that look like the propeller of an airplane.

Strong winds blowing over the blades causes them to rotate creating energy which is converted into electricity.


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