Does a fan convert electrical energy to kinetic energy?

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Offline Shades

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Shades asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi there chris
Just a quick one. If you switch on a fan. Does electrical energy change to kinetic energy ?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 08/09/2011 15:01:02 by _system »


Offline JP

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Does a fan convert electrical energy to kinetic energy?
« Reply #1 on: 08/09/2011 18:23:13 »
Basically, yes.  However, the electricity flowing into your fan is already kinetic energy, because the motion of electrons carries the energy.

The energy starts off at some power plant as stored chemical, nuclear, hydro,etc. energy.  It gets turned into kinetic energy of electrons, which is the electrical current that flows to your house.  This electrical energy turns a motor in your fan, which is kinetic energy of the motor/fan blades.  The fan blades push on air molecules, which transfers kinetic energy to the air molecules.  Aside from the wind blowing out of a fan, it also generates sound and heat, which are also caused by kinetic energy of moving molecules.