The flow of energy drives processes of change in all biological, chemical, physical, and geological systems. Energy stored in a variety of sources can be transformed into other energy forms, which influence many facets of our daily lives. The forms of energy involved and the properties of the materials involved influence the nature of the energy transformations and the mechanisms by which energy is transferred. The conservation of energy is a law that can be used to analyze and build understandings of diverse physical and biological systems.
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Energy takes many forms. These forms can be grouped into types of energy that are associated with the motion of mass (kinetic energy), and types of energy associated with the position of mass and with energy fields (potential energy).
Changes take place because of the transfer of energy. Energy is transferred to matter through the action of forces. Different forces are responsible for the transfer of the different forms of energy.
Energy readily transforms from one form to another, but these transformations are not always reversible. The details of these transformations depend upon the initial form of the energy and the properties of the materials involved. Energy may transfer into or out of a system and it may change forms, but the total energy cannot change.
People utilize a variety of resources to meet the basic and specific needs of life. Some of these resources cannot be replaced. Other resources can be replenished or exist in such vast quantities they are in no danger of becoming depleted. Often the energy stored in resources must be transformed into more useful forms and transported over great distances before it can be helpful to us.