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If we move a positive charge toward a negative charge does the potential energy?

of the positive charge increase or decrease? Explain.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The potential energy decreases. It takes work to move the positive and negative charges away from each other. They are attracted to each other and when you let them come together you have less energy.

  2. the potential energy of a system is equal to minus the work done by electrostatic forces when building the system.
    U = -W
    the change in potential energy is define as
    delta U = Uf – Ui = -W
    if Uf= -k Q*q/Rf^2 and Ui= -k Q*q/Ri^2,
    then
    -W = -k Q*q/Rf^2 + k Q*q/Ri^2
    where Q is the charge of the proton, and -q is the charge of the electron
    and where Rf is less than Ri,
    You see that Uf is a larger negative number then Ui so the change in energy is negative. This means it decreases.

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