Why is voltage called potential difference?
Originally posted by chroot
"Potential" refers to potential energy -- for example, a test charge at rest in an electric field has potential energy. In a similar way, a brick held in the air has gravitational potential energy.
Between two points at different heights above the ground, there is a difference in potential. Between two points in a circuit with different voltages, there is a difference in potential. A voltage is a difference in potential, or a potential difference.
If there's no voltage, then there is no potential difference, that's correct. "Potential difference" is synonymous with "voltage."Originally posted by Jack
But it's not potential is it because there isn't a voltage before you switch the circuit on. If this statement is wrong then I still don't understand and then could someone else please try explaining it to me.
But it's not potential is it because there isn't a voltage before you switch the circuit on.