# Electric Potential: Understanding the Difference

• jorn0807
In summary, there is a difference between electric potential and potential energy. While potential energy is the energy of a charge in a potential, electric potential is the potential energy per unit charge. They are related by the equation U=qV, where U is potential energy, q is charge, and V is potential. The units for potential and potential energy are V and J, respectively.
jorn0807
Hello I'm very confused on what the difference is between electric potential and Potential Energy. I though they were the same but I realized they're not after I got a 30% on a physics quiz. I tried googling it but it keeps telling me that potential energy is equal to mgh which is from mechanics not electricity and magnetism. Any simple explanations? thanks

Potential: V
Potential Energy: U
Electric Charge: q

The Potential energy U of a charge q placed in a potential V is given by the equation below

U=qV

As you can see, the potential energy depends on the potential but also depends on the charge placed in the potential.

The potential is the potential energy per unit positive charge. So if you have a potential of 1000 V and a charge of -0.1 C then the potential energy is -100 J. Note that in the SI system potential is measured in V and potential energy is measured in J. 1 V = 1 J/C.

## 1. What is electric potential?

Electric potential is the amount of electrical potential energy per unit charge at a given point in an electric field.

## 2. How is electric potential different from electric potential energy?

Electric potential is a measurement of the potential energy per unit charge at a specific point in an electric field, while electric potential energy is the total amount of potential energy possessed by an object due to its position in an electric field.

## 3. What is the unit of measurement for electric potential?

The unit of measurement for electric potential is volts (V).

## 4. How is electric potential related to electric potential difference?

Electric potential difference is the change in electric potential between two points in an electric field. It is related to electric potential by the equation V = ΔU/q, where V is the potential difference, ΔU is the change in potential energy, and q is the charge.

## 5. What factors affect electric potential?

Electric potential is affected by the distance between two charges, the amount of charge, and the medium in which the charges are located. It is also affected by the presence of other electric fields in the vicinity.

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