DC Circuits
Potential Energy in DC Circuits

Potential energy for a system of electrically charged particles, qi can be defined as

where  = 8.854 x 10 C/N m is the permittivity of free space, q' is a test charge, qi is a charged particle, and ri is the distance betwen the test charge and the charges qi.

Potential difference (or simply 'potential', sometimes referred to as 'voltage') is related to electrical potential energy, U, by:

That is, potential mutliplied by the test charge gives electrical potential energy.

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