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Electric Potential Energy

  1. Feb 3, 2009 #1
    My book first introduces expressions for work and energy by referring to concepts from mechanics and gravitation. It uses the familiar expressions F =mg (-y direction) & U=mgy to explain the expressions it gives for electric potential energy. However... I understand that the force due to gravity in the first couple of expressions is always downward, hence the negative y-direction. But when it gives the expressions for force and potential energy of a point charge, Fy = -q0*E & U = q0*Ey, I don't understsand why they define it with only the y-component. Doesn't it depend on the direction of your electric field? I mean... electric field doesn't always have to be in the y-direction, right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2009 #2
    Ah, never mind. I think it had to do with the fact that the electric field was uniform, so there was only one direction for the force to be exerted. Sorry about that.
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