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Calculate the p.d. between two points

  1. Jan 9, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The work done by an external force to move a -8.0μC charge from point a to point b is 8.0 × 10-3J. If the charge initially at rest had 4.0 × 10-3J of kinetic energy ab point b, calculate the potential difference between a and b.

    2. Relevant equations
    V = W / q

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Work done per unit charge to move a positive charge from a to b is
    V = W / q = 8.0 × 10-3 / -8.0 × 10-6 = -1.0 × 103V

    At a Ek is 0J and at b it is 4.0 × 10-3J, so
    ΔEk = 4.0 × 10-3J.
    So work done for each electron to give Ek is
    V = W / q = 4.0 × 10-3 / -8.0 × 10-6 = -0.5 × 103V

    Having Ek means that energy is not dissipated. P.d. is the power dissipated per unit current so
    (-1.0 × 103) - (-0.5 × 103) = -0.5 × 103V

    Is it right way to do it?
    Do I need to get rid of negative sign when I calculate the p.d.?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2012 #2


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    Homework Helper

    The result is correct, but look after how is potential difference between a and b defined. Is it the potential at "a" minus potential at "b" or the opposite? The best thing is to make it clear, giving Vb-Va, or saying which point is positive with respect to the other point. So which one?

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