What does electrical PE turn into when charges attract?

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

for instance. Let's say we have a positive charge and a negative charge. and i do 30 joules of work to pull the negative charge away from the positive charge. now it has 30 joules of electrical PE. I release it. All the turns into KE as it flies back towards the positive charge. once it gets to the postive charge, what form of energy does that KE turn into?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
A.T.
Science Advisor
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...once it gets to the postive charge, what form of energy does that KE turn into?
If you are talking about charged bodies that collide and stay together, then the energy goes into heat and EM-radiation. If it's an electron positron pair that annihilate each other, then it all goes into EM-radiation.
 
  • #3
sophiecentaur
Science Advisor
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what form of energy does that KE turn into?
It depends on the circumstances. There could be a chemical bond formed if the KE exceeds the threshold energy - in which case the PE change of the new molecule could account for all the KE. The two objects could bounce apart after an elastic collision.
There are so many possibilities. This question could be set as a homework type discussion. Perhaps the OP could make a list?
 

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