How to Calculate the Gravitational Potential Energy of an Object

Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE) is the energy of place or position. It depends on 3 things: the force of gravity (9.81), the mass of the object (in kilograms), and the height the object is off the ground (in meters). GPE can be changed to Kinetic Energy. The unit for GPE is joules (j).


  1. 1
    Gather your data. First you need to get the data needed for this calculation. You should get the mass on kilograms (Kg), the height the object is off the floor in meters (m) and the gravity pull which is 9.81 (m/s2).
    • Example: A 2 Kg book being held 2 meters off the ground with a gravity pull of 9.81 m/s2.
  2. 2
    Write down the formula. So to get the GPE of an object you need a formula, the formula is MASS X GRAVITY X HEIGHT (M X G X H).
  3. 3
    Put the data in the formula. So next you need to replace the letters (M, G, and H) with your data. So for the book example, it would be: 2 x 9.81 x 2.
  4. 4
    Solve the formula. The last step is to solve the formula and there you go, you have the GPE of your object. The GPE of the book is 39.24 Joules.


  • Remember to put units.
  • Energy is always measured in Joules.

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