Understanding Voltage: A Fundamental Concept in Electric Circuits

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In summary, voltage is the potential difference in a circuit that represents the amount of energy needed to move a charged carrier to different points around the circuit. It is measured in volts and is equivalent to one joule per coulomb. Voltage is connected to other electric units and tells us how much energy we can obtain by moving a charge across two points.
  • #1
Ant92
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I'm doing AS-level physics at the moment and we have moved onto circuits, current, etc. I feel a bit of an idiot but i cannot seem to describe in fully what voltage is. this is mainly because i don't really know. i understand that it represents the potential difference in a circuit, but i have limited understanding of that too. i can remember equations etc, regarding voltage, (V=IR, V=P/I, etc), i just cannot explain it if a question asks me too. any help would be appreciated.

thank you


My try at explaining it

It has some thing to do with the pd of a circuit which when all the the pd across a circuit is combined it is the same as the electromotive force provided by the power cell
 
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  • #2
If you can understand what gravitational potential is you can then understand what electrical potential is. Let's say you want to lift an object of mass [tex]m[/tex] to height [tex]h[/tex]. Now when you start to lift the object, gravitation starts to pull it down. If you want to beat the gravitiy you must do certain amount of work to get [tex]m[/tex] to [tex]h[/tex].

Now electric potential is basically the same but the gravitation can change directions depending on the particles's charge. Now you have to plates one of them has a charge of [tex]Q[/tex] and the other [tex]-Q[/tex] and their distance is [tex]h[/tex]. If you want to move a particle [tex]q[/tex] from [tex]-Q[/tex] to [tex]Q[/tex], you need to do certain amount of work. [tex]q[/tex] is positively charged.

Does that help?
 
  • #3
so are you saying that the potential difference, (i.e. voltage), is the potential energy that will be needed to move a charged carrier to different points around a circuit?
 
  • #4
Yup, voltage = charge potential. And charge is polarized already, which comes in handy.
 
  • #5
thankyou
 
  • #6
voltage = energy per charge

Hi v! :smile:

All the electric units are connected to each other and to ordinary units …

for example 1 volt = 1 joule per coulomb …

voltage = energy per charge …

in other words, the voltage between two points tells you how much energy you get if you move a charge across. :smile:
 

Related to Understanding Voltage: A Fundamental Concept in Electric Circuits

1. What is voltage?

Voltage is the measure of the electric potential difference between two points in an electrical circuit. It is the force that drives the flow of electric current. Voltage is commonly measured in volts (V).

2. Why is voltage important?

Voltage is important because it determines the amount of current that will flow through a circuit. It is also necessary for the operation of many electrical devices and is used to control the flow of electricity.

3. How is voltage measured?

Voltage can be measured using a voltmeter, which is a device that measures the potential difference between two points in a circuit. It is typically connected in parallel with the component or circuit being measured.

4. What is the difference between AC and DC voltage?

AC (alternating current) voltage is a type of voltage that periodically reverses direction, while DC (direct current) voltage flows in only one direction. AC voltage is commonly used in household outlets, while DC voltage is used in batteries and electronic devices.

5. How does voltage affect electrical safety?

Voltage plays a crucial role in electrical safety as it determines the amount of current that can flow through a circuit. High voltage can be dangerous and potentially lethal, while low voltage is generally considered safer. It is important to understand and follow proper safety measures when dealing with electricity.

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