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Homework Help: Atmospheric Potential

  1. Jun 2, 2004 #1
    This question is giving me some difficulty.

    Under normal atmospheric conditions, the potential in the atmosphere near the earth's surface rises 80 V for every metre of increased elevation.
    A) What direction will free electrons in the atmosphere move?
    B) Calculate the loss in electric potential energy of a free electron which moves vertically through 10 m in the atmosphere.

    For A) would the electrons move vertically since q1 and q2 are being moved further apart?
    I don't know how to get the answer in B.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2004 #2
    A) I think they're asking if the electrons will move up or down, not just vertically or not. Do electrons seek lower or higher potential? Where will they find the potential they are looking for?
    B) Do you know what the expression is for chagne in electric potential energy? ΔPele = qΔV. What's the change in potential then, if the particle moves 10 meters up or down? (You will know if it moves up or down from the answer to A).
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