In general, any object that occupies a position in a force field has potential energy. The force field may be gravitational, electrical, or nuclear. In addition, there is elastic potential energy (the stored energy of an object, such as a bow, that is deformed under tension or compression), chemical potential energy, and thermal potential energy.
In a coiled spring, the potential energy is proportional to the square of the compression or extension. A copper sphere insuated from electrical leakage can be charged with static electricity (stationary electrons) and the electrical potential energy of the sphere is determined by the amount of static electric charge and the associated voltage.
Compare with kinetic energy.
Related category CLASSICAL MECHANICS
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