Syllabus covered in the MSVgo app

Download MSVgo app now!

Chapter 6 – Electric Potential and Potential Difference

The following Topics and Sub-Topics are covered in this chapter and are available on MSVgo:


Before we can delve into the concepts of electric potential and potential difference, we must first understand the concept of potential energy. In simple words, potential energy can be defined as the energy stored within a body. In charged objects, this stored energy can be used as electric potential energy. This potential energy is used by a charge to do work. The amount of work this charge can do in the presence of an electric field is the electric potential of the charged object.

Electric potential is defined as the capacity of a charge to do work. When something is charged, it means that either electrons are supplied to it or they are removed from it. In both these cases, some amount of work is done. This work is stored in the charged object in the form of electric potential. 

The unit of this electric charge is coulomb(C). And, the unit of work done is measured in joules. The unit of electric potential is joules/coulomb. This is also represented by volt. A body has an electrical potential equal to 1 volt if the 1-coulomb charged object does one 1 joule of work.

Electric Potential Energy Formula 

U = qV joules

Potential energy(U) = Charge(q) x Electric Potential (V)

The formula for electric potential energy is basically the product of the charge of a particle and its electric potential.

Electric potential difference can be defined as the amount of work done by a charged object in carrying a unit charge from one point to another within an electric field. In other words, the difference between the point at which there is high potential in the charged body and the point with the low potential in the charged body within the electric field is the potential difference of the body. The unit of this electric potential difference is volt. It is measured using a voltmeter, and it is a scalar quantity.

Consider a unit charge which has different electric potentials (VA and VB). In this case, the potential difference is the difference between the two values of the potential energy of the charged object with unit charge. In other words, potential difference is the difference between the work done by two charged objects each of unit charge. The electric potential derivation is as follows:


Where VA and VB are the electric potentials of the charged object with a unit charge at points A and B of the electric field, respectively. 

This can also be represented as:

ΔV=ΔU/q0 joules/coulomb

ΔV=VA-VB=(UA/q0)-(UB/q0) joules/coulomb,

Where ΔU is the change in potential energy or the work done by the unit charge q0 in an electric field. 


This means that a potential difference of 1 volt exists between two points A and B in a constant electric field, if the work done in moving a unit charge from one point to another is equal to 1 joule. 

However, to understand the concept of electric potential at a point in an electric field, we must have a reference to which we assume zero electric potential. This reference point is usually taken at infinity.

The electric potential of a point charge within a uniform electric field is the work done by that point charge with a unit positive charge in moving along any path in the electric field. 

We can assume that the unit positive charge is set at a point. Then, the electric potential (V) at a distance ‘r’ from the charge ‘+q’ is given by the following formula: V=1*q/4πε0*r volt

If the work done in moving this point charge of 1 coulomb from infinity to a specific point in an electric field is 1 joule, the electric potential is equal to 1 volt.

Difference between Electric Potential and Potential Difference

  • The electric potential at any point within an electric field is equal to the amount of work done in bringing a unit positive charge from infinity to that point. 
  • Potential difference is the work done in carrying a unit positive charge from one point to another point within the electric field while keeping the charge in equilibrium.

1. What is electric potential and potential difference Class 10?

Electric potential is defined as the capacity of a charge to do work. Electric potential difference can be defined as the amount of work done by a charged object in carrying a unit charge from one point to another within an electric field. 

2. What is electric potential?

Electric potential is the capacity of a charged object to do work. When an object is charged, electrons are supplied or removed from it. In both these cases, some amount of work is done.

3. What is the potential difference?

Electric potential difference can be defined as the amount of work done by a charged object in carrying a unit positive charge from one point to another within an electric field. 

4. How is potential difference calculated?

Potential difference can be calculated by measuring the potential energy of an object carrying a unit positive charge between two points within a constant electric field. 


Where V is the potential difference, U is the potential energy or work done by the unit charge, and q is the unit charge.

5. Why is potential difference important?

Potential difference, in a way, determines the amount of current that will flow through a system if there is no resistance. It is important because it represents the difference between the potential energies of two bodies carrying a unit positive charge.

To understand more concepts around electric potential and potential difference, check out the interesting videos on MSVgo. It is an educational application with an expansive reserve of educational videos, infographics, interactive content, libraries, animations, and practice questions. Its focus on the core understanding of any subject matter and the strategically crafted conceptual learning modules make it a one-of-a-kind application. 

It is incredibly easy to use, even for kids! The MSVgo application is available on both Android and Apple iOS devices and can be installed for free. For more information on formulae, reactions, and quizzes download the MSVgo application now.

High School Physics

  • Alternating Current
  • Atoms
  • Communication Systems
  • Current Electricity
  • Dual nature of Radiation and Matter
  • Electric Charges and Fields
  • Electricity
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • Electron Beams and Radioactivity
  • Electrons and Photons
  • Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance
  • Fluid Pressure
  • Force and Acceleration
  • Force And Laws Of Motion
  • Gravitation
  • Internal Energy
  • Kinetic Theory
  • Law of motion
  • Light – Reflection And Refraction
  • Magnetic Effects Of Electric Current
  • Magnetism and Matter
  • Management Of Natural Resources
  • Mechanical properties of Fluids
  • Mechanical properties of Solids
  • Motion
  • Motion in a plane
  • Motion in a straight line
  • Moving Charges and Magnetism
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Nuclei
  • Oscillations
  • Our Environment
  • Paths of Heat
  • Physical world
  • Ray optics and optical instruments
  • Semiconductor Devices
  • Semiconductor Electronics: Materials, Devices and Simple Circuits
  • Simple Machines
  • Sound
  • Sources Of Energy
  • Specific and Latent Heats
  • Spherical Mirrors
  • Static Electricity
  • Systems of Particles and Rotational motion
  • Thermal properties of matter
  • Thermodynamics
  • Units and Measurement
  • Vectors, Scalar Quantities and Elementary Calculus
  • Wave Optics
  • Waves
  • Work, Power and Energy

High School Chemistry

  • Acids, Bases and Salts
  • Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers
  • Aldehydes, Ketones and Carboxylic Acids
  • Aliphatic and Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Alkyl and Aryl Halides
  • Amines
  • Analytical Chemistry 
  • Atomic Structure
  • Atoms And Molecules
  • Basic concepts of Chemistry
  • Biomolecules
  • Carbon And Its Compounds
  • Carboxylic acids and Acid Derivatives
  • Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structures
  • Chemical Energetics
  • Chemical Equilibria
  • Chemical Kinetics
  • Chemical Reactions And Equations
  • Chemical Reactions and Their Mechanisms
  • Chemistry in Everyday Life
  • Chemistry of p-Block elements
  • Chemistry of Transition and Inner Transition
  • Classification of Elements
  • Coordination Compounds
  • Cyanide, Isocyanide, Nitro compounds and Amines
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrolysis
  • Elements, Compounds and Mixtures
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Equilibrium
  • Ethers and Carbonyl compounds
  • Haloalkanes and Haloarenes
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Hydrogen
  • Ideal solutions
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry
  • Ionic equilibria
  • Matter
  • Matter Around Us
  • Matter In Our Surroundings
  • Metallurgy
  • Metals And Non-Metals
  • Mole Concept and Stoichiometry
  • Natural Resources
  • Organic Chemistry – Basic Principles
  • Periodic Classification of Elements
  • Physical and Chemical Changes
  • Physical and Chemical Properties of Water
  • Polymers
  • Preparation, Properties and Uses of Compounds
  • Principles and Processes of Isolation of Elements
  • Redox Reactions
  • Relative Molecular Mass and Mole
  • States of Matter
  • Structure Of The Atom
  • Study of Compounds
  • Study of Gas Laws
  • Study of Representative Elements
  • Surface Chemistry
  • The d-block and f-block elements
  • The Gaseous State
  • The p-Block Elements
  • The Periodic Table
  • The s-Block Elements
  • The Solid State
  • Thermodynamics

High School Biology

  • Absorption and Movement of Water in Plants
  • Adolescent Issues
  • Anatomy of Flowering Plants
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Bacteria and Fungi-Friends and Foe
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Biofertilizers
  • Biological Classification
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomolecules
  • Biotechnology and its Applications
  • Biotic Community
  • Body Fluids and Circulation
  • Breathing and Exchange of Gases
  • Cell – Unit of Life
  • Cell Cycle and Cell Division
  • Cell Division and Structure of Chromosomes
  • Cell Reproduction
  • Cellular Respiration
  • Chemical Coordination and Integration
  • Circulation
  • Control And Coordination
  • Crop Improvement
  • Digestion and Absorption
  • Diversity In Living Organisms
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Issues
  • Excretory Products and their Elimination
  • Flowering Plants
  • Genes and Chromosomes
  • Health and Diseases
  • Health and Its Significance
  • Heredity And Evolution
  • Heredity and Variation
  • How Do Organisms Reproduce?
  • Human Diseases
  • Human Eye And Colourful World
  • Human Health and Disease
  • Human Population
  • Human Reproduction
  • Hygiene
  • Improvement In Food Resources
  • Integumentary System- Skin
  • Kingdom Fungi
  • Kingdom Monera
  • Kingdom Protista
  • Life Processes
  • Locomotion and Movement
  • Microbes in Human Welfare
  • Mineral Nutrition
  • Molecular Basis of Inheritance
  • Morphology of Flowering Plants
  • Neural Control And Coordination
  • Nutrition in Human Beings
  • Organism and Population
  • Photosynthesis
  • Photosynthesis in Higher Plants
  • Plant Growth and Development
  • Plant Kingdom
  • Pollination and Fertilization
  • Pollution; Sources and its effects
  • Principles of Inheritance and Variation
  • Reproduction and Development in Angiosperms
  • Reproduction in Organisms
  • Reproductive Health
  • Respiration in Human Beings
  • Respiration in Plants
  • Respiratory System
  • Sexual Reproduction in Flowering Plants
  • Strategies for Enhancement in Food Production
  • Structural Organisation in Animals
  • Structural Organisation of the Cell
  • The Endocrine System
  • The Fundamental Unit Of Life
  • The Living World
  • The Nervous System and Sense Organs
  • Tissues
  • Transpiration
  • Transport in Plants

High School Math

  • Algebra – Arithmatic Progressions
  • Algebra – Complex Numbers and Quadratic Equations
  • Algebra – Linear Inequalities
  • Algebra – Pair of Linear Equations in Two Variables
  • Algebra – Polynomials
  • Algebra – Principle of Mathematical Induction
  • Algebra – Quadratic Equations
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Calculus – Applications of Derivatives
  • Calculus – Applications of the Integrals
  • Calculus – Continuity and Differentiability
  • Calculus – Differential Equations
  • Calculus – Integrals
  • Geometry – Area
  • Geometry – Circles
  • Geometry – Conic Sections
  • Geometry – Constructions
  • Geometry – Introduction to Euclid’s Geometry
  • Geometry – Three-dimensional Geometry
  • Geometry – Lines and Angles
  • Geometry – Quadrilaterals
  • Geometry – Straight Lines
  • Geometry – Triangles
  • Linear Programming
  • Matrices and Determinants
  • Mensuration – Areas
  • Mensuration – Surface Areas and Volumes
  • Number Systems
  • Number Systems – Real Numbers
  • Permutations and Combinations
  • Probability
  • Sequence and Series
  • Sets and Functions
  • Statistics 
  • Trignometry – Height and Distance
  • Trignometry – Identities
  • Trignometry – Introduction

Middle School Science

  • Acids, Bases And Salts
  • Air and Its Constituents
  • Basic Biology
  • Body Movements
  • Carbon and Its Compounds
  • Cell – Structure And Functions
  • Changes Around Us
  • Chemical Effects Of Electric Current
  • Chemistry in Your Life
  • Coal And Petroleum
  • Combustion And Flame
  • Components Of Food
  • Conservation Of Plants And Animals
  • Crop Production And Management
  • Electric Current And Its Effects
  • Electricity And Circuits
  • Elements and Compounds
  • Fibre To Fabric
  • Food production and management
  • Force And Pressure
  • Forests: Our Lifeline
  • Friction
  • Fun With Magnets
  • Garbage In, Garbage Out
  • Getting To Know Plants
  • Health and Hygiene
  • Heat
  • Hydrogen
  • Life Processes: Nutrition in Animals and Plants
  • Light, Shadows And Reflections
  • Materials: Metals And Non-Metals
  • Matter and Its States
  • Metals and Non-metals
  • Micro Organisms: Friend And Foe
  • Motion And Measurement Of Distances
  • Motion And Time
  • Nutrition In Animals
  • Nutrition In Plants
  • Organization in Living Things
  • Our Environment
  • Physical And Chemical Changes
  • Pollution and conservation
  • Pollution Of Air And Water
  • Reaching The Age Of Adolescence
  • Reproduction In Animals
  • Reproduction In Plants
  • Respiration In Organisms
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Separation Of Substances
  • Simple Machines
  • Soil
  • Some Natural Phenomena
  • Sorting Materials Into Groups
  • Sound
  • Stars And The Solar System
  • Structure of Atom
  • Synthetic Fibers And Plastics
  • The Living Organisms And Their Surroundings
  • Transfer of Heat
  • Transformation of Substances
  • Transportation In Animals And Plants
  • Universe
  • Waste-water Story
  • Water: A Precious Resource
  • Weather, Climate And Adaptations Of Animals To Climate
  • Winds, Storms And Cyclones

Middle School Math

  • Addition
  • Area and Its Boundary
  • Boxes and Sketches
  • Data Handling
  • Fun With Numbers
  • Heavy and Light
  • How Many
  • Long And Short
  • Mapping
  • Measurement
  • Money
  • Multiplication and Factors
  • Multiply and Divide
  • Numbers
  • Parts and Wholes
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Patterns
  • Play With Patterns
  • Rupees And Paise
  • Shapes And Angles
  • Shapes And Designs
  • Shapes and Space
  • Similarity
  • Smart Charts
  • Squares
  • Subtraction
  • Tables And Shares
  • Tenths and Hundredths
  • Time
Please switch to portrait mode
for the best experience.
Click to open Popup