Potential Energy Calculator

Created by Mateusz Mucha
Reviewed by Jack Bowater
Last updated: Jul 20, 2022

This potential energy calculator enables you to calculate the stored energy of an elevated object. The full name of this effect is gravitational potential energy because it relates to the energy which is stored by an object as a result of its vertical position or height.

Prefer watching rather than reading? Check out our video lesson on gravitational potential energy here:

Keep reading to find out:

  • How to calculate potential energy
  • What the gravitational potential energy formula is

How to calculate potential energy

The easiest way to calculate gravitational potential energy is to use our potential energy calculator. This tool estimates the potential energy on the basis of three values. These are:

  1. The mass of the object;
  2. Gravitational acceleration, which on Earth amounts to 9,81 m/s² or 1 g; and
  3. The height of the object.

Then the calculator will give you the result in joules. As with all of our calculators, this potential energy calculator does not have to be exclusively used to calculate potential energy. Just input any three of the four variables to find the fourth with ease.

If you want to calculate the energy of an object which is in motion, our kinetic energy calculator is highly recommended.

The potential energy formula

Let's look under the hood of the potential energy calculator. To help you picture it, our example will be the massive wrecking ball on a crane. The gravitational potential energy of this ball depends on two factors - the mass of the ball and the height it's raised to. The relationship between gravitational potential energy and the mass and height of an object is described by the following equation:

PE grav. = m × h × g

Where:

  • PE grav. - Gravitational potential energy of an object;
  • m - Mass of the object in question;
  • h - Height of the object; and
  • g - Gravitational field strength acting upon the object (1 g or 9.81 m/s2 on Earth).

The formula is relatively simple. An object which is not raised above the ground will have a height of zero and therefore zero potential energy. When you double the mass or the height of an object, its potential energy will also double.

Mateusz Mucha
Mass
kg
Grav. acceleration
g
Height
m
Potential energy
J
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