Elastic Energy

Stretch It Out

In a Flash

Archer

Elastic potential energy of the bowstring transfers to the arrow as kinetic energy.

Elastic Energy

Elastic energy is energy stored in an object when there is a temporary strain on it – like in a coiled spring or a stretched elastic band.

The energy is stored in the bonds between atoms. The bonds absorb energy as they are put under stress and release the energy as they relax (when the object returns to its original shape).

Burning Questions

What is elastic energy?

Elastic energy is a form of potential energy, because it is stored in the bonds between atoms in an object or substance when it is temporarily under stress. This stress could be due to the object being stretched or squashed.

What causes elastic energy?

A force acting on an object can cause it to temporarily change its shape, such as when you stretch an elastic band, or squash a squishy ball with your hand.

When this happens, elastic energy can be stored in the object, ready to be released when the object goes back to its original shape – when you let the elastic band go, or loosen your grip on the squishy ball.

Archer

A temporary strain on an object stores elastic energy in the object.

Where is elastic energy stored?

Elastic energy is stored in the bonds between the atoms in an object or substance. These bonds absorb energy as they are stressed, and release that energy as they relax.

Think of it like a coiled spring – the spring absorbs energy when it is compressed, then releases it when it springs back out.

What are some examples of elastic energy?

As we've seen, elastic energy can be found in things like elastic bands, squishy balls, a bow and arrow, and coiled springs. It can also be found in catapults and slingshots.

springs'

Springs

slingshot

Slingshot

elastic band

Elastic Bands

Sponge

Sponge

Can you think of any other objects that can be stretched or squashed to produce elastic energy?

What Do You Mean?

Squishy Ball

The atoms of a rubber ball are under stress when the ball is compressed.

Elastic energy is energy stored in an object due to a force that temporarily changes its shape, such as squashing or stretching.

Potential energy is energy that is stored in an object or substance. Elastic energy is a form of potential energy – in fact, it's often called 'elastic potential energy'.

Cool Facts

You can produce your own elastic energy by stretching a muscle!

Speedy Summary

bungy jump

The more an elastic band stretches, the more elastic potential energy exists.

Elastic energy is energy stored in objects when they are under temporary strain, such as being stretched or squashed. The energy is released when the object returns to its original shape.