What is chemical potential energy?


Quick Answer

According to Education Portal, chemical potential energy is any stored energy that has the potential to do work in the future. All physical matter has molecules that contain potential energy.

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What is chemical potential energy?
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Full Answer

A molecule is any combination of atoms that are held by bonds. Energy within these molecules is called chemical energy. Chemical energy is what holds the atoms together, and this is why experts describe chemical bonds as storage places for potential energy. The stored energy is still active, it just retains the same quantity. Chemical bonds differ in these quantities and have different levels of strength. Education Portal notes that some bonds are weaker than others due to the incompatibility of atoms. Since strong bonds require less energy to form than weak bonds, they also store less potential energy when broken down. When both forms of bonds are broken down, atoms begin to rearrange and are called reactants. They seek out and attach themselves to the other compatible atoms using the released energy and in turn create stronger bonds. In addition, these new bonds are called products and only use some of the energy for formation, leaving behind excess energy. This excess energy is chemical potential energy because it has the ability to do work when originally released.

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