Transforming Energy

Transforming Energy


Use the websites from the Transforming Energy student esheet to respond to the questions on this sheet.

Forms of Energy
How do scientists define energy?



What is the “law of conservation of energy”?



According to the law of conservation of energy, energy that is used does not disappear. What happens to energy?



What does it mean when we say that energy transformations are not “efficient”?



What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources?



Why are solar energy and wind energy considered renewable energy resources?



Why are petroleum, coal, and natural gas considered nonrenewable energy sources?



Why is electricity considered a secondary energy source?



In the United States, what is the number one energy source for making electricity?



Is that a renewable or nonrenewable energy source?



What is Electricity?
What are the three basic parts to an atom?



How is electricity created?



What do spinning turbines in power plants do to make electricity?



Draw and label the steps that electricity takes to go from the power plant to your home.



Converting Coal into Electricity
Go through the following steps in generating electricity from coal and write the major types of energy (such as mechanical, heat, electrical, sound, nuclear, etc.) used in each step. The first one is completed for you.



Types of Energy Used


A machine called a pulverizer grinds the coal into a fine powder.

Mechanical energy, kinetic energy


The coal powder mixes with hot air, which helps the coal burn more efficiently, and the mixture moves to the furnace



The burning coal heats water in a boiler, creating steam.



Steam released from the boiler powers an engine called a turbine, transforming heat energy from burning coal into the kinetic energy of the spinning turbine. .



The kinetic energy of the spinning turbine does work in a generator, a machine that turns this work into electric energy. This happens when magnets inside a copper coil in the generator spin.



A condenser cools the steam moving through the turbine. As the steam is condensed, it turns back into water.



The water returns to the boiler, and the cycle begins again.


Consider all the steps needed to make electricity from coal. When coal is burned, the heat that is released is used to boil water and create steam. This hot steam is then used to turn turbines. The spinning turbines cause big magnets to spin close to a copper wire. The electrons start moving in the copper wire to make electricity. The steam is condensed back to water and the water is pumped to the boiler to start the cycle over again. Consider these questions:

Is all of the chemical energy stored in coal converted to electrical energy?



Explain how some of the energy of coal is lost in the process of generating electricity.



How does electricity work?
Explain what electricity is and how it flows through a wire.



What is an electrical current?



What energy transformations take place when electrical energy is applied to light bulbs?



Why is some of the electrical energy converted to heat and not all of it to light?



Continue reading and select “Electricity Scavenger Hunt.” On the back of this paper, make a table with three columns as described online. Complete the first column by adding at least seven more items that use electricity around you. Then think about the power source and how the energy is transformed into different types of energy.

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