Energy and Force

Words have very specific meanings in science which are not always the meanings that are used in everyday life.

The words energy and force are not interchangeable - they are not the same as each other.

A force is a push or a pull which is easily demonstrated and felt but energy is a slightly more abstract concept. They are measured in different units: force in Newton's and energy in Joules.

When a force is applied to an object, such as a supermarket trolley, the trolley accelerates and moves forwards.

Another way of describing the same situation is to say that a transfer of energy has occurred. The trolley gains kinetic (moving) energy and , as energy cannot be created or destroyed, this must involve a transfer of energy. Chemical energy in the body of the person pushing the trolley was changed into the kinetic energy of that trolley. Supermarket shopping is exhausting work!

It is the force that causes the trolley to start moving and, as it does so, it gains kinetic energy


Energy chains
The Law of Conservation of Energy, Fuels, Fossil fuels
Generation of Electricity
Examples of renewable resources
Energy reference material, Self assessment questions