# Potential energy in ELECTRIC DIPOLES

• orthovector
In summary, the conversation discusses the convention of noting the potential energy of a dipole at theta = 90 degrees as 0, despite there being a maximum torque at this angle. The question arises as to why the potential energy is not a maximum at theta = 90 degrees when the dipole vector is parallel with the electric field vector. The answer is that the maximum potential energy occurs when the positive end of the dipole is closest to the electric field.
orthovector

## Homework Statement

IF THERE IS A MAXIMUM TORQUE WHEN THETA = 90 DEGREES BETWEEN ANGLE MADE BY THE DIPOLE VECTOR P AND THE ELECTRIC FIELD VECTOR E, WHY IS IT CONVENTION TO NOTE THE POTENTIAL ENERGY OF THE DIPOLE AT THETA = 90 DEGREES IS 0?

SHOULDN'T THE POTENTIAL ENERGY AT THETA = 90 DEGREES BE A MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM WHEN THETA = 0 DEGREES (P VECTOR IS PARALLEL WITH E VECTOR)

## The Attempt at a Solution

orthovector said:

## Homework Statement

if there is a maximum torque when theta = 90 degrees between angle made by the dipole vector p and the electric field vector e, why is it convention to note the potential energy of the dipole at theta = 90 degrees is 0?

Shouldn't the potential energy at theta = 90 degrees be a maximum and minimum when theta = 0 degrees (p vector is parallel with e vector)

## The Attempt at a Solution

help

oh i got it. sorry, maximum potential energy is when the positive end of dipole is closest to the electrical field.

## What is a electric dipole?

An electric dipole is a pair of equal and opposite charges separated by a small distance. This creates a dipole moment, which is a measure of the strength and direction of the dipole.

## What is potential energy in electric dipoles?

Potential energy in electric dipoles refers to the energy stored in the system due to the arrangement of the charges. It is the energy required to move the charges from their current position to an infinitely far distance from each other.

## How is potential energy related to dipole moment?

The potential energy of an electric dipole is directly proportional to its dipole moment. This means that as the dipole moment increases, so does the potential energy.

## What factors affect the potential energy of an electric dipole?

The potential energy of an electric dipole is affected by the magnitude of the charges, the distance between them, and the orientation of the dipole. The potential energy increases as the charges or the distance between them increases, and it decreases as the dipole becomes more aligned with an external electric field.

## How is potential energy in electric dipoles used in practical applications?

Potential energy in electric dipoles is used in various practical applications, such as in the operation of capacitors, motors, and sensors. It is also important in understanding the behavior of molecules and materials in electric fields, which has applications in fields such as chemistry and materials science.

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