What Are Examples of Elastic Potential Energy?

Examples of elastic potential energy include a rubber band, spring, bouncing ball, catapult, bungee cord, bow string and trampoline. Elastic potential energy is stored in these objects when they are pulled, stretched or compressed. This energy becomes kinetic energy when these objects return to their original shape. For instance, a compressed spring has elastic potential energy until the coils return to their original alignment and push other objects away.

A bow string stretches thanks to the flexibility at both ends of the string. When an archer releases the string, the potential energy releases the arrow, moving the projectile forward. A trampoline stretches as someone jumps on it, and then it returns to its original shape after launching the person into the air. When a rubber ball bounces off a solid object, it loses some of its shape before returning to its original condition in the air. An elastic waistband gets stretched when the clothing is on someone’s hips, and then the band returns to its original shape when the clothing is removed.

The more a device stretches, the more elastic potential energy exists. The force that returns an object to its original shape is the restoring force. After an object returns to its original form, it does not contain any potential energy because it reaches equilibrium with its physical surroundings. Anything that is elastic has potential energy until it returns to its original shape.