# electric potential

### Basics: Electric Potential for a Point Charge

Pre Reqs: electric potential, electric field, work-energy To start, remember that for a constant electric field the change in electric potential energy would be: WARNING: that is only for a constant electric field. I know you will be tempted later to use this for a different electric field, but DON'T DO IT. But if not that, then how do find the change in electric potential for a point charge? Let me start with a conceptual question. Suppose there were two point charges, both positive but one is held in place. If I hold the other point charge a distance r away from the other charge and…

### Basics: Electric Potential

Pre Reqs: Electric Field, Work-Energy, Potential Energy If you are already familiar with the topics listed in the pre-reqs above, this will be uber-simple. Potential energy - short version The work-energy principle basically says: In this most basic form, the energy is just kinetic energy (if you are not going near the speed of light). BUT...if you have a force that is conservative (meaning the work done does not depend on the path you take), then you can make it a potential energy and move it to the other side. Warning: you can not have a force and have that force do both work AND be a…

### Electric eel at the aquarium

We went to the aquarium, the kids like it. In the Amazon river section, they have an electric eel. Here is the sign next to the Eel. Sorry for the poor image quality. I took the picture with my crappy phone and didn't even realize it was bad until later. I used some magic on it to make parts of it readable, but if that was not good enough, here is what it says: The Electric Eel is the most powerful of all the electric fishes. It can discharge up to 650 volts: six times the power of a household current. A shock can fend off attackers or stun prey so the eel doesn't risk getting hurt in…

### Christmas tree lights - surprisingly cool

Let me start off by saying I think I first read about this on HowStuffWorks.com (many years ago). So, why are christmas lights so cool? They are cool because they are a whole bunch of lights in series, but they still work if one of the bulbs gets burnt out. If you are not familiar with circuits, a series circuit is one in which all of the current goes through all of the items in that circuit (as compared to the case where the current gets split up). Here is an example of a series circuit with two bulbs. In this case, the current comes out of the battery, goes through one filament and…