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ELECTRIC POTENTIAL

ObJeCtIvEs
To calculate electric potential value at any point
around a charge.
Able to calculate electric potential difference between
two points.
To understand equipotential line/surface around a
charge
Electric Potential
+
A
Electric Potential at A is Defined as
- The work done per charge to move positive charge from to A
0
q
W
A
0
q
Fr
2
0
0
r q
r kQq
= =
= v
V
kQ
r
=
Unit = Volt
= (Joule/Coulomb)
Scalar Quantity!!
No need to find Direction!!
X X
Work Done to Move a Charge
+
B
A
Work done to
move charge from
B to A
W
BA
= -q V
BA
= -q (V
A
V
B
)= -U
BA
X X
Work done = - Potential energy
Potential Difference
Since the difference in potential energy V
A
-
V
B
, is equal to the negative of work W
BA
, done
by the electric force to move the charge from
point B to point A, we have that the potential
difference V
AB
is
BA
BA A B
W
V V V -
q
= =
Example 1
Two point charges Q
1
= +0.015 C and Q
2
= -0.015 C are placed as
in a figure below. Compute the potential at point A
A
B
C
Q
2
Q
1
10 cm 10 cm
6cm 4cm 4cm
Solution
VA = V
A1
+ V
A2
1 2
A
1 2
9 6 9 6
A
A
kQ kQ
V
r r
9x10 (0.015x10 ) 9x10 ( 0.015x10 )
V
0.04 0.14
V 3375 ( 964.3) 2410.7V

= +

= +
= + = +
Example 2
Two point charges Q
1
= +20C and Q
2
= -14C are 20 cm as shown in
Figure 2.8. Find
(a) the potential at point x
(b) the potential at point y
(c) potential difference between points x and y.
(d) work done to move a charge 5C from x to y.
20 cm
Q
1
= +20 C
Q
2
= -14 C
20 cm
10 cm
X
Y
SOLUTION
x x1 x2
y y1 y2
xy y x
xy
xy
-6
xy xy
a) V =V +V =450000V+(-630000V)= -180,000V
b) V =V +V =360000V+(-420000V)= -60,000V
c) V =V -V = -60000+180000V = 120000V
W
d) V
q
W ( V ) -(120000)(5x10 )= -0.6J q
=
= =
Equipotential Lines/Surfaces
Example
Figure shows the equipotential lines around a point charge.
(a) What is the work done to move a charge of 8.0C from B to A?
(b) The work done to move charge from B to C?
(c) The average force to move charge from E to D?
Solution
(a) W
BA
= -q (V
BA
) = -q (V
A
-V
B
)
= -(8x10
-6
)(7000-4000)
= 2.4 x 10
-2
J
(b) W
BC
= -q (V
BC
) = -q (V
C
-V
B
)
= -(8x10
-6
)(4000-4000)
= 0 J
(c) W
ED
= -q (V
ED
) = -q (V
D
-V
E
)
= -(8x10
-6
)(1800-1700)
= - 8.0x10
-4
J
The average force to move charge from E to D?
W
ED
= F.r
= F
ED
. r
ED
F
ED
= -W
ED
/r
ED
= -8.0x10
-4
J/ (86x10
-3
- 93x10
-3
)
= 5.6 x10
-6 N