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Electric Potential

  1. Feb 22, 2014 #1
    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
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2014 #2
    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


    As you can see, the potential energy depends on the potential but also depends on the charge placed in the potential.
  4. Feb 22, 2014 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    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.
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