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Definition of Potential Energy and different examples

Grade 7
Aug 9, 2023


In this session, you are going to learn about potential energy. List a few examples related to potential energy and also explain the relationship between the mass of the object, height from the ground, and change in the shape of the object.


Potential Energy

The energy of a body due to its position or change in shape is known as potential energy.

Its SI unit is Joule or kgm2/s2.

Potential Energy

Figure 1: Examples of potential energy

Examples of Potential Energy

A few examples are:

  • A raised object
  • Water that is behind a dam
  • A vehicle that is parked at the top of a hill
  • A yoyo before it is released
  • River water at the top of a waterfall
  • A book on a table before it falls
  • A child at the top of a slide
  • Stretched rubber

Factors Affecting Potential Energy

a. Mass of the Body

The greater the mass of the body, the greater the potential energy. The smaller the mass of the body, the smaller the potential energy.

PE ∝ mass of the object

b. Height Above the Ground

The greater the height of the body, the greater the potential energy. The smaller the height of the body, the smaller the potential energy.

Potential energy does not depend on the path it follows.

PE ∝ height above the ground


c.Change in Shape

The greater the stretching, bending, or twisting, the more potential energy is.

Questions and Answers

Question 1: Observe the graph:

The Graph

Figure 2: Question 1 figure

  1. Which has the highest potential?
  2. Which has the lowest potential?
  3. Which has the potential just higher than
  4. B
  5. C
  6. D
  7. E
  8. F


  1. A
  2. E
  3. Potential just higher than
  4. A
  5. G
  6. F
  7. D
  8. C


  1. Potential energy – The energy of a body due to its position or change in shape is known as potential energy.
  2. Its unit is Kgm2 /s2 or joule (J).
  3. Factors that affect potential energy are:
  4. Mass
  5. Height above the ground
  6. Change in shape
potential energy


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