# Chapter 16: Electric Potential

Difficulty Level:

**At Grade**Created by: CK-12

If there is a strong enough electric field, sparks form in the air where the electricity jumps from one object to another. In this chapter, we discuss electrical energy and electric potential.

Chapter Outline

- 16.1.
## Reviewing Gravitational Potential Energy

- 16.2.
## Electric Potential

- 16.3.
## Capacitance

- 16.4.
## Dielectrics

- 16.5.
## Electrical Energy Storage

### Chapter Summary

- The electric field between two parallel-plate conductors is considered uniform far away from the plate edges if the size of the plates is large compared to their separation distance.
- The potential energy of a charge \begin{align*}q\end{align*}
q at a point between two parallel-plate conductors is \begin{align*}PE=qEx\end{align*}PE=qEx , a reference point must be given such as \begin{align*}PE=0\end{align*}PE=0 at \begin{align*}x=0\end{align*}x=0 . - A point charge \begin{align*}q\end{align*}
q has electric potential energy \begin{align*}PE_x\end{align*}PEx and electric potential \begin{align*}V_x\end{align*}Vx at point \begin{align*}x\end{align*}x . Thus, \begin{align*}PE_x=qV_x\end{align*}PEx=qVx - The word voltage is used when we mean potential difference.
- It is common to write \begin{align*}V=Ed\end{align*}
V=Ed , where \begin{align*}V\end{align*}V is understood to mean the voltage (or potential difference) between the plates of a parallel-plate conductor and \begin{align*}d\end{align*}d is the distance between the plates. - The work done by the electric field in moving a charge between two parallel plate conductors is \begin{align*}W_{field}=-q \Delta V\end{align*}
Wfield=−qΔV . The work done by an external force is \begin{align*}W_{external \ force}=q \Delta V\end{align*}Wexternal force=qΔV . - Voltage can be thought of as the work per unit charge \begin{align*}V=\frac{W}{q}\end{align*}
V=Wq ; that is, how much work is required per unit charge to move a charged particle in an electric field. - Capacitance of an air-gap capacitor is given by \begin{align*}C = \varepsilon_0 \frac{A}{d}\end{align*}
C=ε0Ad where \begin{align*}A\end{align*}A is the area of the capacitor and \begin{align*}d\end{align*}d is the separation distance between the plates. - The charge on a capacitor is directly proportional to the voltage of the capacitor \begin{align*}Q = CV\end{align*}
Q=CV . - A dielectric material placed between the plates increases the capacitance of the capacitor. The capacitance of a capacitor with a dielectric is expressed as \begin{align*}C = k\varepsilon_0 \frac{A}{d}\end{align*}
C=kε0Ad , where \begin{align*}k\end{align*}k is the dielectric constant. - The energy stored in a capacitor can be expressed as
\begin{align*}U & = \frac{1}{2}QV\\ U & = \frac{1}{2}QV^2\\ U & = \frac{1}{2} \frac{Q^2}{C}\end{align*}

UUU=12QV=12QV2=12Q2C

Where \begin{align*}Q\end{align*}Q is the charge on the capacitor and \begin{align*}V\end{align*}V is the voltage of the capacitor.

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Description

Covers electric potential, capacitance, dielectrics, and electrical energy storage.

Difficulty Level:

At Grade
Authors:

Editors:

Subjects:

Date Created:

Jun 27, 2013
Last Modified:

Jun 07, 2016
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