Gravitational Potential Energy

A series of free GCSE/IGCSE Physics Notes and Lessons.

In these lessons, we will

  • Describe what is meant by gravitational potential energy.
  • Calculate the amount of gravitational potential energy gained by an object raised above ground level.

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Energy Transfers
Mechanical, Potential and Kinetic Energy
Elastic Potential Energy
Lessons for IGCSE Physics

Gravitational Potential Energy

The following diagram gives the formula for gravitational potential energy. Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions on how to use the formula.

Gravitational Potential Energy Formula

Gravitational potential energy is the energy stored in an object due to its position above the Earth’s surface.

This is due to the force of gravity acting on an object. Gravitational potential energy is calculated as follows:
Ep = m × g × h


  1. A crane lifts a 75kg mass a height of 8 m. Calculate the gravitational potential energy gained by the mass (g = 9.8 N/kg).
  2. A ball with a mass of 500g is lifted onto a shelf which is 1.5m above the ground. Calculate the gravitational potential energy gained by the ball (g = 9.8 N/kg).

Gravitational Potential Energy - IGCSE Physics


  1. How much G.P.E. does a 5kg rock that is 10m above the ground has?.
  2. A helicopter is flying at a height of 1.5km. If it has 50MJ of G.P.E., what is the mass of the helicopter?
  3. A boy throws a 0.2kg rock up with a speed of 5m/s. If all the kinetic energy becomes gravitational potential energy, how high will the stone go?

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