The electric potential, expressed in volts (symbol: V), is one of the quantities defining the electric state of a point in space. It corresponds to the electrostatic potential energy that a unit electrical charge located at this point would possess, i.e. the potential energy (measured in joules) of a charged particle at this point divided by the charge (measured in coulombs) of the particle.

The difference in electric potential between two points in space or in a circuit makes it possible to calculate the variation in potential energy of an electric charge, or to find several unknown voltages in an electric or electronic circuit.

An object can have an electric charge. Placed in an electric field, such a charged object experiences a force. If the object is positively charged, the force is exerted in the direction of the electric field vector at the place where the object is located; if its charge is negative the force acts in the opposite direction. The force experienced is equal to the product of the charge and the electric field.

The electric potential (or more simply potential) at a point of an electric field corresponds to the work required to transport a unit positive charge from infinity to this point (the electric potential at infinity being by definition equal to 0).

Strength and potential are directly related. When an object moves in the direction of the force that moves it, its kinetic energy increases; for example, the gravitational potential energy of an object on top of a tower is higher than on the ground. As the object falls, its kinetic energy increases and is transformed into heat, or thermal energy.

An electric field (in the absence of a variable magnetic field) shares with a gravitational force field (gravity) this property that the potential energy only depends on the position in the field: the force exerted on an object does not depend only intrinsic properties of this object (for example mass or charge) and of its position, and obeys mathematical rules. We say that the electric force is conservative.

This is why the analogy with the flow of a river is usually used to illustrate the notion of electric potential; the potential of each point corresponds to its altitude, while the difference in altitude (difference in level) corresponds to the difference in potential.

The potential difference (or voltage in the absence of induction phenomena of external origin) is an algebraic value (it can be positive, negative or zero); it is often denoted U.

The electric potential, expressed in volts (symbol: V), is one of the quantities defining the electric state of a point in space. It corresponds to the electrostatic potential energy that a unit electrical charge located at this point would possess, i.e. the potential energy (measured in joules) of a charged particle at this point divided by the charge (measured in coulombs) of the particle.

The difference in electric potential between two points in space or in a circuit makes it possible to calculate the variation in potential energy of an electric charge, or to find several unknown voltages in an electric or electronic circuit.

An object can have an electric charge. Placed in an electric field, such a charged object experiences a force. If the object is positively charged, the force is exerted in the direction of the electric field vector at the place where the object is located; if its charge is negative the force acts in the opposite direction. The force experienced is equal to the product of the charge and the electric field.

The electric potential (or more simply potential) at a point of an electric field corresponds to the work required to transport a unit positive charge from infinity to this point (the electric potential at infinity being by definition equal to 0).

Strength and potential are directly related. When an object moves in the direction of the force that moves it, its kinetic energy increases; for example, the gravitational potential energy of an object on top of a tower is higher than on the ground. As the object falls, its kinetic energy increases and is transformed into heat, or thermal energy.

An electric field (in the absence of a variable magnetic field) shares with a gravitational force field (gravity) this property that the potential energy only depends on the position in the field: the force exerted on an object does not depend only intrinsic properties of this object (for example mass or charge) and of its position, and obeys mathematical rules. We say that the electric force is conservative.

This is why the analogy with the flow of a river is usually used to illustrate the notion of electric potential; the potential of each point corresponds to its altitude, while the difference in altitude (difference in level) corresponds to the difference in potential.

The potential difference (or voltage in the absence of induction phenomena of external origin) is an algebraic value (it can be positive, negative or zero); it is often denoted U.

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