What is Electric Potential? Definition and Formula

What is Electric Potential? Definition and Formula

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Electric potential definition is at a point in an electric field as the amount of work to be done to bring a unit positive electric charge from infinity to that point. Electric potential definition is also graded as electrical level, and difference of two such levels, causes current to flow between them. When a body is charged, it can attract an oppositely charged body and can repulse a similar charged body. That means, the charged body has ability of doing work. That ability of doing work of a charged body is defined as electrical potential of that body.

Similarly, the potential difference between two points is defined as the work required to be done for bringing a unit positive charge from one point to other point. If two electrically charged bodies are connected by a conductor, the electrons starts flowing from lower potential body to higher potential body, that means current starts flowing from higher potential body to lower potential body depending upon the potential difference of the bodies and resistance of the connecting conductor.

What is Electric Potential? Definition and Formula

So, electric potential of a body is its charged condition which determines whether it will take from or give up electric charge to other body. The unit of electric potential is volt.

Electric potential is graded as electrical level, and difference of two such levels, causes current to flow between them. This level must be measured from a reference zero level. The earth potential is taken as zero level. Electric potential above the earth potential is taken as positive potential and the electric potential below the earth potential is negative.

Electric Potential Formula

The unit of electric potential is volt. To bring a unit charge from one point to another, if one joule work is done, then the potential difference between the points is said to be one volt. So, electric potential formula is,

Electric Potential at a Point due to Point Charge

Let us take a positive charge + Q in the space. Let us imagine electric potential a point at a distance x from the said charge + Q. Now we place a unit positive charge at that point. As per Coulomb’s law, the unit positive charge will experience a force,

Now, let us move this unit positive charge, by a small distance dx towards charge Q.

During this movement the work done against the field is,

So, total work to be done for bringing the positive unit charge from infinity to distance x, is given by,

As per definition, this is the electric potential of the point due to charge + Q. So, we can write,

Potential Difference between Two Points

Let us consider two points at distance d1meter and d2 meter from a charge +Q. We can express the electric potential at the point d1 meter away from +Q, as,

We can express the electric potential at the point d2 meter away from +Q, as,

Thus, the potential difference between these two points is

Electric Potential Definition and Formula

After going through the above portion of electric potential formula we can now establish a Electric potential definition. I hope you enjoy when reading this article, thank you.