In physics, mechanical energy is the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy present in the components of a mechanical system. It is the energy associated with the motion and position of an object. The law of conservation of energy states that in an isolated system that is only subject to...
Most electric motor
Motor is a device that creates motion. It usually refers to an engine of some kind. It may also specifically refer to:*Electric motor, a machine that converts electricity into a mechanical motion...
s operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors
In physics and electrical engineering, a conductor is a material which contains movable electric charges. In metallic conductors such as copper or aluminum, the movable charged particles are electrons...
to generate force. The reverse process, producing electrical energy from mechanical energy, is done by generator
In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electric charge to flow through an external electrical circuit. It is analogous to a water pump, which causes water to flow...
s such as an alternator
An alternator is an electromechanical device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy in the form of alternating current.Most alternators use a rotating magnetic field but linear alternators are occasionally used...
or a dynamo
- Engineering :* Dynamo, a magnetic device originally used as an electric generator* Dynamo theory, a theory relating to magnetic fields of celestial bodies* Solar dynamo, the physical process that generates the Sun's magnetic field- Software :...
; some electric motors can also be used as generators, for example, a traction motor
Traction motor refers to an electric motor providing the primary rotational torque of a machine, usually for conversion into linear motion ....
on a vehicle may perform both tasks.