Electric Potential Energy – Class 12 | Chapter – 1 | Physics Short Notes Series PDF for NEET & JEE

Electric Potential Energy: Electric potential energy is a type of energy associated with the interaction of electric charges. It is defined as the energy required to move a charged particle from one point to another in an electric field, against the electric force acting on the particle.

Electric Potential Energy

The electric potential energy of a charged particle in an electric field can be calculated using the following formula:

U = qV


  • U is the electric potential energy of the charged particle.
  • q is the magnitude of the electric charge of the particle.
  • V is the electric potential difference between the two points, which is defined as the electric potential at one point minus the electric potential at another point.

It is important to note that electric potential energy is a scalar quantity and has units of joules (J) in the SI system of units.

Electric potential energy is a key concept in the study of electric circuits and electrical energy systems, and it plays a central role in many areas of physics and engineering. For example, the electric potential energy stored in a charged capacitor is used to power many electronic devices, and the conversion of electrical energy into other forms of energy, such as light and heat, is an important aspect of many technological processes.

Formula of Electric Potential Energy

The formula for electric potential (V) at a point in an electric field is given by:

V = k * Q / r


  • V is the electric potential energy
  • k is the Coulomb constant, equal to 8.99 x 109 Nm2/C2.
  • Q is the total charge of the electric field source.
  • r is the distance from the point to the electric field source.

This formula assumes that the electric field source is a point charge, meaning that the electric field is generated by a single, isolated charge. For more complex electric field sources, such as electric dipoles or extended charge distributions, the calculation of electric potential requires more advanced techniques.

Electric Potential of a Point Charge

Let us consider a point charge ‘q’ in the presence of another charge ‘Q’ with infinite separation between them.

U(r) = k× [qQ/r]

where, ke = 1/4πεo = Columb’s constant

Let us consider a point charge ‘q’ in the presence of several point charges Qi with infinite separation between them.

U(r) = kq × ∑ni = 1  [Q/ri]

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By Team Learning Mantras