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Physics > Electricity > Electric Potential and Potential Difference
Electricity

Electric Potential and Potential Difference

All of us know that the like charges repel each other and unlike charges attract each other. Some work is always involved in moving a charge in the area of another charge. What makes the charge to flow? Well, this basically happens because of the ‘Electric Potential’. Let us study more about it below.

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Electric Potential

If two charged bodies are in contact, the charge starts flowing from one conductor to other. The electric condition, that determines the flow of charge from one conductor to other in contact, is the electric potential. Electric potential is comparable to level in case of water, the temperature in case of heat and pressure in the case of fluids. Earth is a conductor that can hold an infinite charge and can give infinite charge without changing its potential.

Its potential is taken as zero potential. Thus the positively charged conductor has more positive potential than the earth. A  negatively charged conductor has negative potential less than that of the earth.The electric potential difference between two points in an electric circuit is the work done in moving a unit positive charge from one point to the other.

When W joule of work is done in bringing the test charge Q coulomb from infinity to the point P then the electric potential V at the point P then, V=  W/Q

The work needed to move a charge Q from infinity to a point P where electric potential is  V will be W=QV

The S.I unit of work is joule and that of the charge is coulomb.

Learn about Electric Charge? Read here.

Download Electric Current and Circuit Diagrams Cheat Sheet PDF

electricity cheat sheet

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Potential difference

Electrical Potential

When the current flows between two points A and B of an electric circuit, we only consider the charge between the points A and B, this means it is not necessary to know the exact potential at each point A and B. It is sufficient to know the potential difference between the two points A and B. Therefore the potential difference between the two points is equal to the work done in moving a unit positive charge from one point to the other.

 The potential difference is expressed in volt (V).  The potential difference between two points is said to be 1 volt if the work is done in moving 1-coulomb charge from one point to other is 1 joule.

1 volt= 1 joule/ 1 coulomb

Unit for measuring the potential difference is volt and instrument used for measuring potential difference is a voltmeter. While connecting voltmeter in the circuit, positive terminal of the voltmeter should be in connection with the positive terminal of the cell and negative with the negative of the cell.

What happens when the battery is in connection with the circuit?

When a conducting wire is in connection with the terminals of the battery, a potential difference is created between the ends of the conductor. This potential difference sets up an electric field throughout the conductor.The electrons near the positive terminal of the battery are attracted by it and start on the move towards positive terminal.

Solved Example For You

Q.What potential difference is required to do 100 J of work to carry a charge of 10 C between two points?

Solution: Given,

work done (W) = 100J

Charge       (Q) = 10C

Potential difference (V) =?

V = W/Q

V = 100 J ÷ 10 C = 10 V

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GUptaSaraEmmanuel onyediAnnagraceSwapneshu Karmakar Recent comment authors
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jerry springer
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jerry springer

this sucks

Ibrahim
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Ibrahim

No u are not understanding

sushant
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sushant

Not to offend no but can u please explain how did you wrote v=i/r when this is completely Wrong . I is proportional to V voltage and this equation is neither true by ohm,s law neither mathematically by manipulating what ohms said. please make this correct. Its a blunder for whosoever is studying especially small students.

jhon doe
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jhon doe

Yes. V =IR always true for all the ohmic conductors

Heer
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Heer

Yea that’s wrong . V=IR

Emmanuel onyedi
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Emmanuel onyedi

Then which one is correct

Sara
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Sara

V=IR is correct.

Abhay
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Abhay

Ya bro

Annagrace
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Annagrace

🙏 thanks for the correction

Swapneshu Karmakar
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Swapneshu Karmakar

What is second law of Ohm on electric currents

Xxx
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Xxx

Gucci

GUpta
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GUpta

Non linear dependence means

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