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Potential Energy – Definition, Factors, and Examples

Grade 10
Jun 10, 2023


In this session, we are going to learn about elastic potential energy and the relation between elastic energy, force, and change in length.


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 kg m2/s2.

Examples of potential energy

Examples of Potential Energy

A few examples are:

  • A raised object above the ground
  • Water that is stored in a dam
  • A vehicle that is parked at the top of a hill
  • A yoyo before it is released
  • Water that is stored in an over-roof tank
  • A book on a table before it falls
  • A child at the top of a slide
  • Stretched rubber

Factors Affecting Potential Energy

1. Mass of the body

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

PE ∝  mass of the object


2. Height above the ground

The more is the height of the body, the greater the potential energy. The less 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

3. Change in shape

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

Elastic Potential Energy

Elastic potential energy is the energy stored in objects when they are stretched or compressed.

The more an object can stretch, the more elastic potential energy it has.

Elastic potential energy is possessed by an object due to its state of deformation.

Elastic potential energy

Example of Elastic Potential Energy

A few examples of elastic potential energy are:

1. Stretching of a spring

Stretched spring

2. Stretching of a rubber band

Stretched rubber band

3. Stretching of a slinky

Stretched slinky

4. Stretching of a bow

Stretched bow

The Equation for Elastic Potential Energy

The formula for elastic potential energy
Questions and Answers

Question 1: What will be the new elastic energy when the length of the object is changed by keeping the force the same:

  1. 5
  2. 5
  3. 3


  1. E’ = ½ F’x’

         F’ = F

          x’ = 5x

         E’ = ½ F (5x) = 5 (½ Fx) = 5E

b. E’ = ½ F’x’

    F’ = F

    x’ = x/8

    E’ = ½ F(x/8) = 1/8 (1/2 fx) = E/8

Potential Energy


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