GCSE Physics Revision: Energy Stores, Systems & Changes

5th April 2017

GCSE Science Revision made easy

PHYSICS - Energy Stores and Systems and Energy Changes in Systems made easy!


Learning about energy stores and systems and energy changes in systems is made easy with this broken down factsheet. Alongside our energy stores and systems and energy changes in systems song, you should be on the way to getting great grades in your GCSE physics exams!


Energy stores and systems


Another word for an object or a group of objects is a system. When a system changes, the way energy is stored also changes.

Energy can change when:

  • A moving object is stopped by a stationary obstacle

  • A vehicle slows down

  • An object is thrown upwards

  • Water is brought to boil by an electric kettle

  • An object is accelerated by a constant force


When there is this change in energy, students are expected to be able to calculate it. Whether this change is from a:

  • Current

  • Force

  • Heat source


Energy changes in systems


As well as calculating the change in energy, you’ll also be expected to work out how much energy is released from or stored in a system when its temperature changes. We work this out using the equation below:


Change in thermal energy = mass × specific heat capacity × temperature change


Each of these variables is measured differently:

  • Change in thermal energy or ∆E are measured in joules or J

  • Mass or m are measured in kilograms or kg

  • Specific heat capacity or c are measured in joules per kilogram per degree Celsius or J/kg °C

  • Temperature change or ∆θ are measured in degrees Celsius or °C


The specific heat capacity is a keyword that you must know the definition of. The specific heat capacity is how much energy is required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of the substance by one degree Celsius.

If you remember these key facts and are able to use them in the exam then there’s no need to worry! To help you out we have also written a song on energy stores and systems and energy changes in systems which is definitely worth a listen!


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