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# What is the definition of "gravitational potential energy"?

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According to Georgia State University, gravitational potential energy is the energy an object possesses because of its position in a gravitational field. This is most commonly in reference to an object near the surface of the Earth, where the gravitational acceleration is assumed to be constant at about 9.8 m/s2.

## Keep Learning

According to Georgia State University, the general expression for gravitational potential energy is equal to the work done against gravity to bring a mass to a given point in space. The potential energy near a planet is a negative quantity, since gravity does positive work as the mass approaches the surface. Once a mass is near a large body, it is trapped until something can provide enough energy to allow it to escape.

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## Related Questions

• A:

The equation for calculating kinetic energy is KE = ½mv², where m is the mass of the object and v is its velocity. When an object is at its highest, it has the most potential or stored energy; at its lowest point, it has its most kinetic energy.

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Thermal energy is made by the movement of particles within an object or system. The thermal energy of an object, and thus the temperature of an object, increases as its molecules move more quickly.

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The transfer of heat from an object's surroundings increases the energy of the particles that make up the object. Raising the kinetic energy of a particle increases its movement.