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Why do protons accelerate towards regions of low potential?

  1. Aug 29, 2009 #1
    I am a bit confused, because I was trying to solve a question involving lines of constant electric potential and protons/electrons which move through this field.
    Now, I noticed that I do not know why protons do accelerate towards lower potential?
    Could somebody please explain the reasoning behind this from the first step on?


    Thanks for your support!


    Felix
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2009 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Which way does the field point?
     
  4. Aug 29, 2009 #3
    I am only given a picture of lines of constant electric potential. the lines are all bent around some centre point and at various distanctes from the point.
    The highest potentials are near the point. The lowest are far away.

    Does that help ?
     
  5. Aug 30, 2009 #4

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    You need to understand the meaning of potential. It requires work to move a positive charge to a region of higher potential. So which way must the field point and the force act?
     
  6. Aug 30, 2009 #5
    The field points in the direction opposite of the movement of the proton and the force acts directly opposite to the movement right?
    That means, that if no force other than the electric force is acting on the proton, it will automatically accelerate towards lower potential right?
     
  7. Aug 30, 2009 #6

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Exactly!
     
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