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Author Topic: Apparent paradox of potential energy  (Read 1230 times)

Offline nix85

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Apparent paradox of potential energy
« on: November 29, 2020, 02:30:55 PM »
i was just watching about electric potential energy and potential again..

ELECTRIC POTENTIAL ENERGY dependent on the charge experiencing the electric field
ELECTRIC POTENTIAL only dependent on the position of the object

v = u/q

that is, electric potential is electric potential energy per charge or

1 volt = 1 joule/coulomb


u = kQq/r

that is, electric potential energy is coulomb's constant times charges over distance between them

when you insert second formula into first and cancel the two qs, it follows

v = kQ/r

so we see potential is proportional to amount of charge and inversely proportional to distance between charges

later in the video he shows practical example how potential falls farther from the charge

all sweet, basics

but now consider the gravitational equivalent

gravitational potential also falls as we get farther from earth


object above that are farther away (to certain distance) have HIGHER potential energy

Work = force * distance moved

that is

Mass * Gravity * Height

do you see the apparent contradiction.

i think it is due to a fact potential energy of objects on the ground doesn't matter since they can't move anyway and can't do work, while those suspended above ground have potential to fall and do work.