Chapter 02: Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance

In this course we learn about Electrostatic Potential, Equipotential Surfaces, Electrostatics of Conductors, Capacitors and much more!

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In previous classes we have learnt about potential energy. When an external force does work in taking a body from one point to another against a force like spring force or gravitational force, that work gets stored as potential energy of the body. When the external force is removed, the body moves, gaining kinetic energy and losing an equal amount of potential energy.

The sum of kinetic and potential energies is thus conserved. Forces of this kind are called conservative forces. Spring force and gravitational force are examples of conservative forces. Coulomb force between two (stationary) charges, like gravitational force, is also a conservative force.

This is not surprising, since both have inverse-square dependence on distance and differ mainly in the proportionality constants – the masses in the gravitational law are replaced by charges in Coulomb’s law. Thus, like the potential energy of a mass in a gravitational field, we can define electrostatic potential energy of a charge in an electrostatic field.


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