﻿

# electric potential

1. Also called potential. Elect. (at any point in an electric field) the work done per unit charge in moving an infinitesimal point charge from a common reference point to the given point. Symbol: V
2. Physiol. See action potential.
[1870-75]

* * *

Amount of work needed to move a unit electric charge from a reference point to a specific point against an electric field.

The potential energy of a positive charge increases when it moves against an electric field, and decreases when it moves with the field. Electric potential can be thought of as potential energy per unit charge. The work done in moving a unit charge from one point to another, as in an electric circuit, is equal to the difference in potential energies at each point. Electric potential is expressed in units of joules per coulomb, or volts.

* * *

the amount of work needed to move a unit charge from a reference point to a specific point against an electric field. Typically, the reference point is the Earth, although any point beyond the influence of the electric field charge can be used.

The diagram shows the forces acting on a positive charge q located between two plates, A and B, of an electric field E. The electric force F exerted by the field on the positive charge is F = qE; to move the charge from plate A to plate B, an equal and opposite force (F′ = -qE) must then be applied. The work W done in moving the positive charge through a distance d is W = Fd = -qEd.

The potential energy for a positive charge increases when it moves against an electric field and decreases when it moves with the electric field; the opposite is true for a negative charge. Unless the unit charge crosses a changing magnetic field, its potential at any given point does not depend on the path taken.

Although the concept of electric potential is useful in understanding electrical phenomena, only differences in potential energy are measurable. If an electric field is defined as the force per unit charge, then by analogy an electric potential can be thought of as the potential energy per unit charge. Therefore, the work done in moving a unit charge from one point to another (e.g., within an electric circuit) is equal to the difference in potential energies at each point. In the International System of Units (SI), electric potential is expressed in units of joules per coulomb (i.e., volts (volt)), and differences in potential energy are measured with a voltmeter.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

### Look at other dictionaries:

• Electric potential — Electromagnetism Electricity · …   Wikipedia

• electric potential — elektrinis potencialas statusas T sritis Standartizacija ir metrologija apibrėžtis Elektrostatinius laukus apibūdinantis skaliarinis dydis, kurio gradientas su priešingu ženklu lygus elektrinio lauko stipriui, t. y. E = grad V. Matavimo vienetas… …   Penkiakalbis aiškinamasis metrologijos terminų žodynas

• electric potential — elektrinis potencialas statusas T sritis Standartizacija ir metrologija apibrėžtis Skaliarinis dydis, apibūdinantis elektrostatinį lauką. Elektrinis potencialas yra tolydžioji koordinačių funkcija, apibrėžiama pastovaus dydžio tikslumu.… …   Penkiakalbis aiškinamasis metrologijos terminų žodynas

• electric potential — elektrinis potencialas statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. electric potential vok. elektrisches Potential, n rus. электрический потенциал, m pranc. potentiel électrique, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

• electric potential — elektrinis potencialas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Dydis, apibūdinantis elektrostatinį lauką. atitikmenys: angl. electric potential rus. электрический потенциал ryšiai: sinonimas – potencialas …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

• electric potential — noun the difference in electrical charge between two points in a circuit expressed in volts • Syn: ↑potential, ↑potential difference, ↑potential drop, ↑voltage • Hypernyms: ↑electrical phenomenon • Hyponyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

• electric potential — noun the potential energy per unit charge at a point in a static electric field; voltage …   Wiktionary

• electric potential — electrical potential potential (def. 2) …   Medical dictionary

• electric potential — /əˌlɛktrɪk pəˈtɛnʃəl/ (say uh.lektrik puh tenshuhl) noun → potential (def. 8) …   Australian English dictionary

• Electric potential energy — Electromagnetism Electricity · …   Wikipedia