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Chemical Energy

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What is Chemical Energy?

Energy refers to the ability to do work, wherein, work is defined as the movement of the body to some kind of force. We require energy throughout and it comes in several forms. Chemical energy is defined as the energy that is stored in the bonds of chemical compounds such as atoms and molecules. This energy gets released whenever a chemical reaction is taking place. Generally, when the chemical energy is released from the substance, it tends to transform into an entirely new substance. The stored chemical energy is released whenever a chemical reaction takes place. Heat is produced often in the form of a by-product of that chemical reaction. This is known as an exothermic reaction. Chemical energy is one of the most used kinds of energies in the world because it is crucial for the existence of not only humans but also all living beings and the natural world. In this article, we will study what is chemical energy, the chemical energy formula, the chemical energy meaning and the chemical energy examples.

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Chemical Energy Definition

The chemical energy definition physics is as follows.

Chemical energy refers to the potential of chemical substances for undergoing chemical reactions and get transformed into another newer substance. In simpler terms, it is the energy that is stored in the bonds of chemical compounds such as atoms and molecules.

Chemical energy is released when a substance undergoes a chemical reaction and produces heat mostly in the form of a by-product. This reaction is known to be an exothermic reaction. Some of the examples of the stored chemical energy include natural gas, biomass, coal,  petroleum and batteries.

Generally, when chemical energy tends to get released from a substance, it gets transformed entirely into a newer substance. An example of this is that when an ongoing explosion goes off,  the chemical energy present in it gets transferred to the surroundings in the form of kinetic energy, thermal energy and sound energy.


Chemical Energy Examples in Everyday Life

Given below are some of the chemical energy examples in our day to day life.

  1. We all know that plants require solar energy for producing sugar from water and carbon dioxide. The sugar, carbon dioxide and water stick together by chemical bonds which hold the chemicals together. 

  2. Consider for example that all sugars contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms that are held together by several chemical bonds. However, these atoms do not get connected automatically, and some kind of energy is needed to make them stay attached. 

  3. Plants make use of the solar energy to put the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms as a whole unit in the form of sugar. This is a great example of energy transformation wherein energy is transformed from one form to the other. In this case, solar energy gets transformed into chemical energy.


Characteristics of Chemical Energy

Let us now discuss some of the characteristics of chemical energy.

Chemical energy is released when a chemical reaction takes place, generally in the form of heat. These reactions are known as exothermic reactions. Reactions which need a heat input for proceeding may even store some of this energy in the form of chemical energy in the newly formed bonds. The chemical energy present in food gets converted by the body into heat and mechanical energy. The chemical energy present in coal gets converted into electrical energy at a power station. The chemical energy present in the battery is also able to supply electrical power with the help of the process of electrolysis.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What Does Chemical Energy Mean?

The chemical energy simple definition is as follows.


All bonds of a chemical compound contain energy.  When this compound undergoes a chemical reaction, chemical energy is emitted in the form of heat. These reactions are known as exothermic reactions. With the help of the electrolysis process, the chemical energy present in a battery is also able to provide electrical energy. Chemical energy refers to the energy present in molecules and atoms and the bonds of the chemical compounds. Whenever a chemical reaction takes place, this chemical energy gets released. Generally, the substance gets converted into a new substance altogether once this chemical energy gets released from that substance. 

Q2. What is Chemical Energy in the Food We Eat?

The food that we eat daily consists of stored chemical energy. When the bonds between the atoms in the food items tend to break or loosen up, a chemical reaction tends to take place and entirely newer compounds are formed. The energy that is produced from this chemical reaction keeps our body warm, helps us in the day to day movements and also contributes to our growth. However, different kinds of foods tend to store different amounts of energy in different forms. Hence, we can say that the food we eat daily contains stored chemical energy. This chemical energy then gets converted to different forms of energy such as mechanical energy which helps us in the day to day movement. 

Q3. What are Examples of Chemical Energy?

Some of the examples of chemical energy are as follows.


Chemical energy is stored in dry wood. When we burn the wood, chemical energy gets liberated and converted into thermal energy and light energy.  Wood is also transformed into ashes when burnt, which is an entirely new substance.


The food that we eat is also an example of the stored chemical energy, which is released during the process of digestion. The food molecules tend to break down into smaller pieces. When the bonds between the atoms break, a chemical reaction happens and new compounds tend to get formed. Oxidation takes place as the bonds keep breaking.