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Electric potential (Volts)

  1. Sep 13, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    given a uniform electric field direct straight downward. If I have two particles, one is positive and the other is negative, both align horizontally (at the same height) inside the field. Which one has more electric potential?

    2. Relevant equations




    3. The attempt at a solution

    The electric field will try to push the positive particle in the same direction naturally if no force is applied. The electric potential is defined as the -integral of (E . dt) from very far to a certain location. Based on this, I say both particles have the same potential.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2012 #2

    ehild

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    Gold Member


    Are you sure that the question was really "Which one has more electric potential? " The potential is an attribute of the electric field at a point. A charged particle has electric potential energy in an electric field.

    As the electric field is vertical, a horizontal line is an "equipotential" line, the potential is constant along the line, so the particles are at the same potential. You correctly said that the potential is the same for both particles. But the particles have different charge so different potential energy.

    ehild
     
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