Energy can be defined as the ability to do work. In every action completed by us everyday uses energy. Although often in small forms, still uses energy. But as the Conservation of Energy Law states that energy can not be created or destroyed. We ask ourselves, if energy can't be created or destroyed then where does the energy we used go or come from? Well, energy can be found in many different forms. So when it appears as though the energy used in our bodies to kick a soccer ball is gone, we know it isn't it has merely just changed forms.
In the sport of soccer energy comes in all different forms. It begins as chemical energy in our bodies, being used in every action we make. Then once we take that energy and kick the ball a very small amount transfers to thermal energy because of the friction between the grass and the ball. Another small amount is transferred to sound energy so we get that iconic sound of a soccer ball being kicked. However the main transfer of energy goes to kinetic energy because after the ball takes off it soars through the air. Directly at the peak of the parabolic path the ball is traveling with it makes its next energy transfer. This time to gravitational potential energy, at the maximum height for the ball it will have the most gravitational potential energy because at this time the main force acting upon the ball is gravity. Once the ball starts on its decent back to the ground the energy changes again to kinetic energy because the ball is in motion. Lastly when the ball lands back on the ground there is a small energy transfer to sound energy for that thump of the ball hitting the ground, but most of the energy transfers to thermal where the friction from the grass on the ball, slows the ball to a stop.
Ever wonder what happens to the energy generated by a kick, pass or dribble? Although I’ve always been an avid soccer (football) fan I can’t say that this thought has ever crossed my mind, but fortunately that was not the case for 4 girls in an engineering class who came up with this brilliant idea. They call it a sOccket and are currently finalizing this soccer ball of the future. The ball absorbs the energy of impact, stores it and later makes the energy available to power a light bulb, charge a cell phone, or well, you get the idea. The ball has already been piloted in South Africa and further development is being funded by the youth humanitarian program at the Clinton Global Initiative. This kind of energy would offer an alternative to kerosene lamps, which are frequently used in developing countries and can be harmful to one’s health.