# Describe how the elastic potential energy stored by a balloon changes as it is blown up.

Question: Describe how the elastic potential energy stored by a balloon changes as it is blown up.

As a balloon is inflated, the elastic potential energy within it increases. This energy is the result of the balloon's material stretching to accommodate the air being forced into it. The more the balloon expands, the greater the internal forces resisting further expansion, which in turn increases the stored elastic potential energy. This energy is a form of potential energy because it has the potential to do work; when the balloon is released, this stored energy is converted into kinetic energy, causing the balloon to deflate rapidly or propel through the air if untied. The relationship between the stretch and the stored energy is not linear; as the balloon stretches closer to its limit, it requires more force to achieve the same amount of stretch, indicating a nonlinear increase in elastic potential energy. This concept is similar to Hooke's Law, where the force needed to extend or compress a spring scales linearly with the distance, until the material's elastic limit is reached. Beyond this point, the material may deform permanently and not return to its original shape, losing its ability to store elastic energy efficiently.