Why Would You Perform a Rubber Band Energy Experiment?

A rubber band energy experiment shows the relationship between potential and kinetic energy, according to Scientific American. Students and individuals who conduct this experiment witness how potential energy can be converted into kinetic energy depending on the orientation of the rubber band.

Rubber bands can also be used as cheap projectile toys. Put a rubber band around your thumb and forefinger, making sure that it is taut. Pull one side of the rubber band towards you, allowing it to stretch. Then, release the band and see it fly.

When the rubber band is stretched, potential energy is being stored in the material. The stretchy nature of the rubber band allows it to store elastic potential energy. As soon as the rubber band is released, the potential energy is quickly translated to kinetic or motion energy as it flies off.

The amount of elastic potential energy is directly proportional to the length of stretch. In other words, a more stretched band yields higher potential energy. This results in a greater kinetic energy, which is directly proportional to the velocity of the object. As the rubber band is stretched more, it has the potential to reach a faster velocity and travel farther.