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High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! A thermodynamic potential is a scalar potential function used to represent the thermodynamic state of a system. One main thermodynamic potential which has a physical interpretation is the internal energy, U. It is the energy of configuration of a given system of conservative forces (that is why it is a potential) and only has meaning with respect to a defined set of references (or data). Expressions for all other thermodynamic energy potentials are derivable via Legendre transforms from an expression for U. In thermodynamics, certain forces, such as gravity, are typically disregarded when formulating expressions for potentials.