Radiant Energy Examples

Radiant Energy

Radiant energy has a fancy-sounding name for a really simple concept. Radiant energy is simply energy that travels in waves, or sometimes in particles. It's the energy given off by electromagnetic radiation. It's a form of kinetic energy, since the particles are moving as they carry light, heat, and radiation from one source to another source.

Electromagnetic radiation is all around us in a variety of forms, but it's most often released as normal light. Although radiant energy is the result in the change in configuration in an arrangement of electrons, EM is really just a stream of photons, and heat is felt or light is viewed as those photons in the form of radiant energy.

One of the interesting facts about radiant energy is it moves in a straight line, and it can be absorbed or reflected if the object cannot absorb it. Soil, for example, absorbs radiant energy, and this light and heat absorption warms seeds and roots in the soil to promote growth. However, radiant energy is one of the forms whose particles can move within a vacuum quite efficiently.

Radiant energy is important in a lot of fields, including telecommunications (especially over long distances and through wireless networks), heating technology, radiometry, and lighting.

Examples of Radiant Energy:

1. Heat

Radiant energy in the form of heat can be anything from a complicated system that conducts geothermal heat from underground, to a simple campfire. Heating coils can be embedded under a flooring system to warm up a room, or can be woven into fabric that allows professional rescuers to warm a body during a hypothermia emergency. Heat can even radiate up from the hot street on a summer day. Heat is transferred as energy in all of these cases, radiating in temperature-responsive waves.

2. Light

There are a wide variety of sources of light, all of which can be considered radiant energy. Light from natural sources like the light given off by a burning candle or campfire, or sunlight-as well as the sun's reflection off of the moon, planets, and other objects-is radiant energy. Artificial light sources like incandescent, halogen, or LED light bulbs would be in this form. Neon light, which is generated as the reaction of the element, is also radiant energy.

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