# 7.2 Electric potential and potential difference  (Page 7/12)

 Page 7 / 12

## Calculating potential of a point charge

Given a point charge $q=+2.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{nC}$ at the origin, calculate the potential difference between point ${P}_{1}$ a distance $a=4.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ from q , and ${P}_{2}$ a distance $b=12.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ from q , where the two points have an angle of $\phi =24\text{°}$ between them ( [link] ). Find the difference in potential between P 1 and P 2 .

## Strategy

Do this in two steps. The first step is to use ${V}_{B}-{V}_{A}=\text{−}{\int }_{A}^{B}\stackrel{\to }{\text{E}}·d\stackrel{\to }{\text{l}}$ and let $A=a=4.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ and $B=b=12.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{cm},$ with $d\stackrel{\to }{\text{l}}=d\stackrel{\to }{\text{r}}=\stackrel{^}{\text{r}}dr$ and $\stackrel{\to }{\text{E}}=\frac{kq}{{r}^{2}}\stackrel{^}{\text{r}}.$ Then perform the integral. The second step is to integrate ${V}_{B}-{V}_{A}=\text{−}{\int }_{A}^{B}\stackrel{\to }{\text{E}}·d\stackrel{\to }{\text{l}}$ around an arc of constant radius r , which means we let $d\stackrel{\to }{\text{l}}=r\stackrel{^}{\phi }d\phi$ with limits $0\le \phi \le 24\text{°},$ still using $\stackrel{\to }{\text{E}}=\frac{kq}{{r}^{2}}\stackrel{^}{\text{r}}$ . Then add the two results together.

## Solution

For the first part, ${V}_{B}-{V}_{A}=\text{−}{\int }_{A}^{B}\stackrel{\to }{\text{E}}·d\stackrel{\to }{\text{l}}$ for this system becomes ${V}_{b}-{V}_{a}=\text{−}{\int }_{a}^{b}\frac{kq}{{r}^{2}}\stackrel{^}{\text{r}}·\stackrel{^}{\text{r}}dr$ which computes to

$\begin{array}{cc}\text{Δ}V& =\text{−}{\int }_{a}^{b}\frac{kq}{{r}^{2}}dr=kq\left[\frac{1}{a}-\frac{1}{b}\right]\hfill \\ & =\left(8.99\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{10}^{9}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{\text{Nm}}^{2}{\text{/C}}^{2}\right)\left(2.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{10}^{-9}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{C}\right)\left[\frac{1}{0.040\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m}}-\frac{1}{0.12\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{m}}\right]=300\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{V}\text{.}\hfill \end{array}$

For the second step, ${V}_{B}-{V}_{A}=\text{−}{\int }_{A}^{B}\stackrel{\to }{\text{E}}·d\stackrel{\to }{\text{l}}$ becomes $\text{Δ}V=\text{−}{\int }_{0}^{24\text{°}}\frac{kq}{{r}^{2}}\stackrel{^}{\text{r}}·r\stackrel{^}{\phi }d\phi$ , but $\stackrel{^}{\text{r}}·\stackrel{^}{\phi }=0$ and therefore $\text{Δ}V=0.$ Adding the two parts together, we get 300 V.

## Significance

We have demonstrated the use of the integral form of the potential difference to obtain a numerical result. Notice that, in this particular system, we could have also used the formula for the potential due to a point charge at the two points and simply taken the difference.

Check Your Understanding From the examples, how does the energy of a lightning strike vary with the height of the clouds from the ground? Consider the cloud-ground system to be two parallel plates.

Given a fixed maximum electric field strength, the potential at which a strike occurs increases with increasing height above the ground. Hence, each electron will carry more energy. Determining if there is an effect on the total number of electrons lies in the future.

Before presenting problems involving electrostatics, we suggest a problem-solving strategy to follow for this topic.

## Problem-solving strategy: electrostatics

1. Examine the situation to determine if static electricity is involved; this may concern separated stationary charges, the forces among them, and the electric fields they create.
2. Identify the system of interest. This includes noting the number, locations, and types of charges involved.
3. Identify exactly what needs to be determined in the problem (identify the unknowns). A written list is useful. Determine whether the Coulomb force is to be considered directly—if so, it may be useful to draw a free-body diagram, using electric field lines.
4. Make a list of what is given or can be inferred from the problem as stated (identify the knowns). It is important to distinguish the Coulomb force F from the electric field E , for example.
5. Solve the appropriate equation for the quantity to be determined (the unknown) or draw the field lines as requested.
6. Examine the answer to see if it is reasonable: Does it make sense? Are units correct and the numbers involved reasonable?

## Summary

• Electric potential is potential energy per unit charge.
• The potential difference between points A and B , ${V}_{B}-{V}_{A},$ that is, the change in potential of a charge q moved from A to B , is equal to the change in potential energy divided by the charge.
• Potential difference is commonly called voltage, represented by the symbol $\text{Δ}V$ :
$\text{Δ}V=\frac{\text{Δ}U}{q}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{or}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{Δ}U=q\text{Δ}V.$
• An electron-volt is the energy given to a fundamental charge accelerated through a potential difference of 1 V. In equation form,
$1\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{eV}=\left(1.60\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{10}^{-19}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{C}\right)\left(1\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{V}\right)=\left(1.60\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}10}^{-19}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{C}\right)\left(1\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{J/C}\right)=1.60\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{10}^{-19}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{J}\text{.}$

A mass 'm' is attached to a spring oscillates every 5 second. If the mass is increased by a 5 kg, the period increases by 3 second. Find its initial mass 'm'
a hot water tank containing 50,000g of water is heated by an electric immersion heater rated at 3kilowatt,240volt, calculate the current
what is charge
Why always amber gain electrons and fur loose electrons? Why the opposite doesn't happen?
A closely wound search coil has an area of 4cm^2,1000 turns and a resistance of 40ohm. It is connected to a ballistic galvanometer whose resistance is 24 ohm. When coil is rotated from a position parallel to uniform magnetic field to one perpendicular to field,the galvanometer indicates a charge
Using Kirchhoff's rules, when choosing your loops, can you choose a loop that doesn't have a voltage?
how was the check your understand 12.7 solved?
Who is ISSAAC NEWTON
he's the father of 3 newton law
Hawi
he is Chris Issaac's father :)
Ethem
how to name covalent bond
Who is ALEXANDER BELL
LOAK
what do you understand by the drift voltage
what do you understand by drift velocity
Brunelle
nothing
Gamal
well when you apply a small electric field to a conductor that causes to add a little velocity to charged particle than usual, which become their average speed, that is what we call a drift.
graviton
drift velocity
graviton
what is an electromotive force?
It is the amount of other forms of energy converted into electrical energy per unit charge that flow through it.
Brunelle
How electromotive force is differentiated from the terminal voltage?
Danilo
in the emf power is generated while in the terminal pd power is lost.
Brunelle
what is then chemical name of NaCl
sodium chloride
Azam
sodium chloride
Brunelle
Sodium Chloride.
Ezeanyim
common salt
Ahmed
How can we differentiate between static point and test charge?
Wat is coplanar in physics
on the same Cartesian plane
Ahmed
two point charges +30c and +10c are separated by a distance of 80cm,compute the electric intensity and force on a +5×10^-6c charge place midway between the charges
0.0844kg
Humble By Yacoub Jayoghli By Edgar Delgado By By Marion Cabalfin By Sebastian Sieczko... By OpenStax By David Corey By Rylee Minllic By OpenStax By