C04 Electric Potential

We imagine that an electric field causes a distortion to the electric landscape. Positive charges raise “electric mountains” and negative charges drop “electric pits”.

To any (test) charge that wanders into this electric landscape, it will have to use up its KE when it is climbing up mountains or out of pits. Likewise, it can gain KE when it is rolling down mountains or into pits.

You can think of the electric potential as an “electric altitude” . It marks the elevation at each point, so that we can easily calculate the changes in EPE as a charge travels around in an electric field.

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