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Why is voltage sometimes referred to as "electric potential energy"?

1 Answer

Voltage is sometimes referred to as "electric potential energy" because they are closely related concepts in the context of electric circuits and electromagnetism.

Electric Potential Energy (EPE): Electric potential energy is the energy that a charged particle possesses due to its position relative to an electric field. When a positive or negative charge is placed in an electric field, it experiences a force that can do work on the charge, either by attracting it towards a region of lower electric potential energy (if it's a positive charge) or repelling it towards a region of higher electric potential energy (if it's a negative charge). The amount of work done on a charge in moving it from one point to another in an electric field is equal to the change in electric potential energy of the charge.

Voltage: Voltage, also known as electric potential difference or electric potential, is the difference in electric potential energy per unit charge between two points in an electric field. It represents the work done on a positive charge to move it from one point to another in the electric field. Mathematically, voltage (V) is defined as the ratio of the change in electric potential energy (ΔEPE) to the amount of charge (q) moved: V = ΔEPE / q.

The relationship between voltage and electric potential energy can be expressed as follows:

V = ΔEPE / q

This means that voltage is a measure of the electric potential energy change experienced by a charge when it moves between two points in an electric field. It tells us how much energy is gained or lost by a charge as it moves from one point to another within the electric field.

In practical terms, voltage is the driving force that causes electric charges to flow in a circuit. When there is a voltage difference between two points (e.g., between the positive and negative terminals of a battery), electric charges will move through the circuit, and electrical current is established.

So, referring to voltage as "electric potential energy" emphasizes the connection between the energy aspect of electric charges in an electric field and the driving force that causes charges to move in electrical circuits.
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