Difference Between Electric Potential and Potential Difference

By Aina Parasher|Updated : May 4th, 2022

Difference Between Electric Potential and Potential Difference: Electric potential is the amount of effort done in transporting a unit positive charge from infinity to that point against electric forces in an electric field. On the other hand, the amount of work done in transporting a unit positive charge from one location to another point against the electric force is described as an electric potential difference between two points in an electric field. 

Electric Potential is a key term in the field of electricity, as it requires a potential difference to initiate the movement of electrons and therefore produce electricity. Further, in the upcoming sections, we will discuss electric potential, potential difference, and the difference between electric potential and potential difference.

Table of Content

What is Electric Potential?

Electric Potential is the amount of work done per unit charge to get that charge from infinity to a point in the electrostatic field while resisting the field force. Voltage is another term for electric potential. Volt is the SI unit for Electric Potential. Electric potential is a scalar quantity. The formula for Electric Potential is-

Electric Potential = Work Done/ Unit charge

Since work is measured in joules and charge is measured in coulombs, the unit of electric potential is joules/coulomb or volts.

What is Potential Difference?

The amount of work required to transfer a unit charge from one place in an electric field to another is defined as the potential difference. In other terms, the potential difference is the difference between the two charged bodies' electric potentials.

The two bodies are said to have a potential difference when one of them is charged to a different electric potential than the other. Both bodies are under duress and are striving to reach their full capacity. The unit of potential difference is volt.

Difference Between Electric Potential and Potential Difference 

We have provided the difference between electric potential and potential difference listed in the table below.

Electric PotentialPotential Difference
Electric potential is the work done per unit charge to get a charge from infinity to a point in an electric field,Potential difference is the potential created when transferring a charge from one point in the field to another.
It is defined at a point.It is defined between two points.
The unit of Electric Potential is Volt.The unit of Potential Difference is also Volt.
At infinity, it is taken as zero.There is no such concept for potential difference.
It is a scalar quantity.It is also a scalar quantity.

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FAQs

  • The main difference between electric potential and potential difference is that electric potential is calculated at a point whereas, a potential difference is calculated between two points.

  • The work done in transferring a unit positive charge from infinity to that location, without any acceleration, is defined as the electric potential (or potential) at that place in an electric field. The unit of electric potential is volt.

  • The amount of work required to move a unit charge from one point to the other is defined as the potential difference between two points in an electric circuit.

    It is denoted as-  Work done/ quantity of charge transported = potential difference

  • There is no difference between electric potential and potential difference based on their units since the unit for both electric potential and potential difference is volt (V).

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