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Electric potential

  1. May 17, 2008 #1
    I've read some litterature about the electric potential (V, volts), but I feel like I still miss an actual explanation of what this really is. I know it's "potential energy per unit charge", but I am searching for a more down-to-earth explanation.

    Is it an "elementary" phenomenon, like electric fields?

    Can I have a negative electric field in a positive potential field?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2008 #2
    Voltage is basically the ability to move an electrical charge through resistance.

    Wiki has a good explanation for it.

    Here's an analogy to it:

  4. May 17, 2008 #3

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Think of it as an alternate way of viewing the same thing. Potential takes an "energy" view, while the electric field takes a "force" view. But given the potential you can calculate the field. See: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/electric/efromv.html#c1"

    Sure. The electric field is related to the slope of the potential field. Think of the potential field like a hill--the slope at any point represents the electric field strength at that point.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
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