What makes work positive (electricity)

  1. I dont really understand the concept of what makes work positive or negative for example if 3 charges are brought together from infinite what is the work done on them?

    I am extremely confused about what make work positive and negative.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. tiny-tim

    tiny-tim 26,041
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hi Eats Dirt! :smile:

    Potential energy = minus the work done by a conservative force.

    And work done = force "dot" displacement

    so if the charge is attractive (like gravity), the force is in the same direction as displacement, so the work done by the force is positive, and the potential energy difference is negative

    but if the charge is repulsive, the force is in the opposite direction to displacement, so the work done by the force is negative, and the potential energy difference is positive :wink:
     
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