Chemical Energy

A form of potential energy (see Energy; Potential) possessed by elements in virtue of their power of combining with liberation of energy, as in the combination of carbon with oxygen in a furnace; or by compounds in virtue of their power of entering into other combinations more satisfying to the affinities of their respective elements or to their own molecular affinity. Thus in a galvanic couple water is decomposed with absorption of energy, but its oxygen combines with zinc with evolution of greater amount of energy, so that in a voltaic couple the net result is the setting free of chemical energy, which is at once converted into electrical energy in current form, if the battery is on a closed circuit.