Friday, 17 June 2011

Types of energy and conversions

So, in discussing the different ways to generate electricity, Frank diverged onto the topic of energy itself. I already knew about most of the energy types, but in spite of that, Frank insisted on defining each type of energy as he listed them off: thermal is heat, chemical is...well...chemistry, electrical is what we were talking about trying to generate last week, radiant energy he says is EM radiation, nuclear is known as atomic power, magnetic is obvious, right? Elastic is like a rubber band stretched out, sound is energy that you can hear, mechanical is something moving, and luminous energy is visible (in other words you can see it).

If you'll remember, we can convert almost all of those different types directly into electrical energy, but some require an intermediate step, such as converting sound into mechanical energy first, then using that to move a conductor through a magnetic field to make electricity. If we go the other way around, we can make electricity go through a wire, which will make a magnetic field that can move a speaker cone and make sound. Most of the conversions from one form of energy can be reversed fairly easily with little loss. Of course, some loss is to be expected. After all we can't fight the constant loss of energy: entropy.

Most of what Frank says certainly sounds true, but some of it I just accept without comment. I guess it's a case of credo quia absurdum est. (If you don't know what that means, go look it up!)

Keep studying until we talk next week. See ya!

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