Almost every phenomena of nature, be it geographical or biological, is in some or the other way, a manifestation of energy. Energy transformation forms a fundamental part of all biological processes. In physics, energy assumes a significant importance as it a physical quantity that can be assigned to any particle or object that is in a state of rest or motion. Similarly, in chemistry, there are abundant chemical energy examples in which the chemical energy stored in various materials or that is a part of various chemical reactions, is transformed into different forms of energy.
Gravitational, potential, kinetic, mechanical, electrical, wind energy, magnetic and nuclear energy are various types of energy. Before knowing about various chemical energy examples, it's imperative to understand 'what is chemical energy' as that will be fruitful in understanding the various processes that constitute chemical energy.
What is Chemical Energy?
Chemical energy is an inherent energy in the atoms and molecules of a substance. Stated simply, every compound is made of atoms and molecules. Each of these atoms and molecules are held by strong or weak covalent and ionic bonds. All types of chemical bonds have specific energy and this is the chemical energy released when the bonds are broken in a chemical reaction.
In certain chemical reactions, heat energy is released after the reaction completes. These are known as exothermic reactions and in such reactions the energy required for the reaction to occur is less than the total energy released. On the other hand, there are certain chemical reactions, wherein the reactions absorb heat from its surroundings to carry out the reaction. These are known as endothermic reactions. There are numerous chemical energy examples that are both endothermic or exothermic. Know more on types of chemical reactions.
Examples of Chemical Energy
There are numerous chemical energy examples. Almost all reactions involving combustion of chemical compounds or chemical elements, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cells and batteries are examples of chemical energy. There are various chemical processes that occur continuously in the environment.
Plants, for instance create food by the process of photosynthesis, that is probably one of the most studied chemical energy examples. Plants and trees absorb solar energy and use it to turn carbon dioxide and water present in the atmosphere to oxygen and sugar (sucrose, fructose, etc). Just like fats in animals are used for storing energy, the sugar molecules produced by the process of photosynthesis are stored by plants for gaining energy. These sugar compounds that constitute an integral part of trees, plants, fruits and vegetables are the sources of chemical energy in plants and trees. When animals feed on the fruits and vegetables and other parts of plants, these sugar molecules provide energy to the animals. Read more on formula for photosynthesis.
Similarly, sugar molecules are also present in the molecular process of cellular respiration that is yet another chemical energy example. The organic food consumed by us contains sugar and other molecules that are further broken down into carbon dioxide, water and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP, as many of us must have read in our school biology courses, is an important chemical that helps in transferring chemical energy in the body for metabolic processes.
Combustion processes also known as burning comprises various chemical energy examples. Burning of wood, charcoal and other items lead to release of chemical energy in the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels, for instance is also an example of chemical energy. These reactions are also accompanied by release of light and heat energy.
One of the simplest and most evident chemical energy examples is batteries, that we use in our daily life. Batteries contain chemicals like zinc and lead whose chemical energy is converted into electrical energy after electrical connection is established between two leads of the battery.
These examples are the easiest and the most simplest to understand when it comes to understanding chemical energies. These examples can also act as chemical energy examples for kids, and help them to understand the transformation of one energy to the other.