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Internal Energy

Teacher/Instructor Matt Jones
Matt Jones

M.Ed., George Washington University
Dept. chair at a high school

Matt is currently the department chair at a high school in San Francisco. In his spare time, Matt enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two kids.

An object's internal energy is the kinetic energy from the random motion of the particles within it and the potential energy from movement of electrons in its atoms. Generally internal energy is represented with the letter U.

Internal Energy, internal energy is just the total of all the energies inside a substance. Remember when a substance is heated, it doesn't ga- gain heat in terms of getting energy, the energy it gets when it's heated is internal energy and that energy can be both kinetic and potential so let's say we've got a block of iron that's being heated up by something, those molecules in there are going to start to move faster and some of their kinetic energy is the motion of the molecules some of that will be molecules vibrating, that's a form of internal energy, some of it will be them rotating and moving around another form of internal energy some of it will be some of the electrons jumping into higher electron orbitals that's a form of potential energy, so these are all forms of Internal Energy and when an object increases in Internal Energy it's also increasing in entropy it's moving from more ordered state to a state more disorder so that's some examples of what we have when we have Internal Energy.