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Kinetic Energy: What It Is and How Sorbothane Is Used

February 02, 2015

What is Kinetic Energy?

In the world, there are many different kinds of energy. Each of these types of energy behave in different ways in different situations and can be generated or expelled in different ways as well. Kinetic energy is built up in an object by motion and can be defined as the energy that is needed to either slow it down or speed it up. Perhaps the easiest way to describe kinetic energy is by looking at the typical roller coaster. As it climbs the hill, it builds up kinetic energy.  At the top of the hill, the coaster will have its highest level of kinetic energy, which it will then use as it works toward decelerating with the goal of hitting a lower speed by the time it reaches the bottom of that hill. The amount of kinetic energy is always relative, which means there are a number of factors that can determine how much energy is able to build within the object in question.

Kinetic energy is also generated by the human body when it is in motion. For instance, a runner builds up kinetic energy that starts in the feet and legs and is generally converted to heat. That is why runners (and other athletes) start to feel hot when they are running or exercising. Studies have also been done using kinetic energy and then converting it to other types of energy, which is then used to power everything from flashlights to radios and more. There was even a company that was working on weaving a special material into a woman’s bra to capture the kinetic energy generated by her breasts.

To determine how much or what type of Sorbothane material you might need, review our Engineering Design Guide. In the design guide, there is a formula that is used. That formula is meant to calculate the response of Sorbothane to a load that also depends on the rate of the force applied. This material does not follow the Newtonian principles, which means that mechanical energy generated by an object can be lost when that energy is converted to heat.

When a runner uses a material such as Sorbothane, the built up kinetic energy is displaced, not through the legs and feet but back through the shoes instead. As you run along the ground, the pounding force of your feet against the pavement becomes shock force, which can cause fatigue as well as stress fractures and exhaustion.

Using Sorbothane allows you to dispel some of this pounding and stress while still building up the kinetic energy that you need to have to be successful and to be able to continue to run for longer periods or farther distances. There are a number of ways to use Sorbothane in running applications such as shoe insoles and athletic foot supports as well as a number of other possibilities.

Want to learn more about how Sorbothane’s engineering team can assist with your product or application? Request a free quote.