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How Rockets Use Energy

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How Rockets use Energy

Rockets use and convert energy many times while operating. First of all, energy is the ability to do work or to organize or change matter. That energy is what moves the rocket. But first the energy starts out in the rocket fuel, as chemical potential energy. Potential energy is stored energy that is in an object due to the positioning of its parts. In model rocket engines, the fuel is made out of pressed black powder. The fuel is stored in a cartridge, which gets placed in the bottom of the rocket. Chemical potential energy changes into heat when the engine is ignited, turning the potential energy into kinetic energy which is energy in the form of motion. Heat is kinetic energy because heat is how fast atoms in an object vibrate, which is motion. When the rocket fuel ignites, it expands. When the heat is created, the fuel becomes a gas and expands out the bottom of the rocket. The force pushing down pushes the rocket in the opposite direction, up. Isaac Newton’s 3rd law of motion explains this reaction: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” That means that when you push down, you will go up. When the expanding gas pushes the rocket up, the gas loses energy, and the rocket gains kinetic energy. This is because a force that changes an object's motion gives that object energy. When a rocket engine starts firing, it starts accelerating, which causes it to gain more kinetic energy. When an object’s speed increases, its kinetic energy also increases. As a rocket starts moving, it gains kinetic energy and momentum. This is because objects with kinetic energy also have momentum. During the entire process of a rocket launch, there is always the same amount of energy expended. This is due to the law of conservation of energy, which states that energy isn’t able to be destroyed or created. In a rocket launch, the potential…...

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