Potential energy is the energy stored in an object due to its position, state or shape. There are various types of potential energy, some examples being gravitational potential energy, chemical potential energy and electrical potential energy.
Gravitational potential energy is the energy stored in an object when it is lifted up against the force of gravity. It can be calculated using the following equation: GPE = mass × gravitational field strength × change in height.
Elastic potential energy is the energy stored in elastic objects when they are stretched or squashed. This occurs when a force is applied to an object which causes it to change shape. When the object returns to its original shape, the stored elastic potential energy is released.
All the work done in stretching or compressing an elastic object is stored as elsatic strain energy, which is equivalent to the elastic potential energy. The elastic strain energy can be calculated using E = 1/2 × F × x, where F is the force that is causing the stretching or compressing of the object, N, and x is the extension, m. This is equivalent to the area under a force-extension graph.