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Kinetic Energy is movement energy and can be calculated as 1/2 times mass times
the square of the velocity. KE equals 1/2 m v squared. Because the
kinetic energy is proportional to the square of the velocity, tiny changes to
the velocity can have a big effect, making fast moving objects dangerous
even if their mass is low. To stop an object all of the stored kinetic energy
it’s carrying must be changed into other types of energy, such as heat in a car’s
brakes. Doubling the velocity quadruples the kinetic energy so quadruples the
stopping distance of a car. Under heavy braking the brakes may overheat and fail.
Most countries have speed limits on most roads to reduce the kinetic energy of
cars making them easier to stop, and making them have less kinetic energy and
therefore do less damage in the event of a collision. To see how to rearrange the
equation for kinetic energy please click here, or click here to subscribe.