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Electric potential energy?

  1. Mar 23, 2014 #1
    1. Explain why the electron moves in the above way (from left to right between two parallel plates that is positively charged on the left, negatively charged on the right) in terms of electric potential energy



    2. Relevant equations



    3. I know the electron moves from left to right when released between two parallel plates with a small distance between them, but I can't explain it in terms of electric potential energy. Help!!!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2014 #2
    You mean why it moves from right to left? If the left is positively charged and the right is negatively charged, the (negatively charged) electron should move to the left.. Now as for how this is explained using potential energy.. Think, how do forces act on objects in relation to their potential energy? When gravity does work on you if you're at some height, does it increase or decrease your potential energy?
     
  4. Mar 23, 2014 #3
    Forces act to decrease potential energy, right?
     
  5. Mar 23, 2014 #4
  6. Mar 23, 2014 #5
    So, electrons move in such a way as to decrease their potential energy?
     
  7. Mar 23, 2014 #6
    Not exactly. The electrical forces from the plates (acting on the electron) act to decrease the electron's potential energy.
     
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