I am studying this area and I am having trouble trying to figure out if kinetic and potential energy can be spontaneously converted into any other energy form like sound energy, thermal energy, or even electricity.

Take a moving car, it has lots of both potential and kinetic energy, would taking that energy and quickly converting it to different energy stop the car? Say a car is about to hit a wall. The car is traveling at 40 mph, would it stop if all the kinetic and potential energy was converted to different energy (assuming that nothing is now powering the car. Like the engine stopped running too).


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  • $\begingroup$ When I say spontaneously I just mean really fast. Is there a very fast and effective way to convert energy such as kinetic and potential energy? Perhaps fast enough, or if even possible, to stop a moving car. $\endgroup$ – Mathew O. Feb 7 at 3:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think the question needs to be more specific. Otherwise, a perfectly legitimate answer could be "Yes: the car can run head-on into a brick wall, and then all of its kinetic energy gets converted to other forms very quickly." I'm guessing that's not the kind of answer you're looking for. :) $\endgroup$ – Dan Yand Feb 7 at 3:18
  • $\begingroup$ Does this edited version help? $\endgroup$ – Mathew O. Feb 7 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ I understand that. That is precisely what I am asking. $\endgroup$ – Mathew O. Feb 7 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me that you do not have a good grasp on what potential energy actually is. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Feb 7 at 3:57