Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Electric potential energy question

  1. Sep 2, 2009 #1

    fluidistic

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I've done an exercise that made me think a bit.
    Here's it is : https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=333608.

    So the electric potential energy of a 1 dimensional crystal (lattice?) formed by alternating ions is about [tex]\frac{-ke^2 \ln 2}{a}[/tex]. So as it is a negative number, I would have to do some work to separate the charges composing the crystal and the crystal is stable.
    While if it would have been a positive number, the crystal wouldn't have been stable and I would have to do work to maintain the charges the place they are.
    But what if the infinite sum is worth [tex]0[/tex]?
    I know that I need no work to take one charged particle from infinity to anywhere, so the electric potential energy of the particle would be [tex]0[/tex]... but what if I have a system of charged particles with a total electric energy equal to [tex]0[/tex]? Is this hypothetical system stable? What does that mean that its electric potential is null?
     
  2. jcsd
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Can you offer guidance or do you also need help?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: Electric potential energy question
Loading...