Electric current is formed when two charged particles are brought close to each other. Depending on the charges present, the flow of the current is described.

Table of Contents

The electric current can be measured using various measurements and units. These units and measurements are defined and formulated ones that help in determining the value of the electric current.

Two of them being electric field and electric potential.

**Electric Field vs Electric Potential**

The difference between Electric Field and Electric Potential is that electric field is the force exerted by the charge on its surrounding whereas the electric potential is the measure of the electric field.

An electric field is the measure of the force exerted by charged particles. Every charged particle has an electric field of their own and this decreases with increase in the distance between the particle and the point where the force is being measured.

An electric potential on the other hand is the measure of the electric field of a particle. The electric potential also decreases with an increase in distance.

The unit of measurement is Volt.

**Comparison Table**

Parameters of Comparison | Electric Field | Electric Potential |
---|---|---|

Definition | The amount of force per charge | The amount of energy per charge |

Magnitude | Vector quantity | Scalar quantity |

Units | Newtons per coulomb | Volt |

Measurement | A measure of the force exerted by the charged particles on the surrounding | A measure of the electric field |

Continuity | Is not always continuous but is never infinity | Is always continuous |

Relation with distance | Decreases with the increase in distance | Decreases with the increase in the square of the distance |

**What is Electric Field?**

The electric field is the force exerted by a charged particle on the surrounding. It decreases with increase in the distance.

This is because further, the point is from the charged particle, lesser is the force exerted. The force exerted can be positive or negative depending on the charge of the particle.

The formula for calculating the electric field is usually,

E=F/q or E=Kq/r^2

Where,

- E=electric field
- F=force exerted
- Q=charge of the particle
- r=distance of the charge
- K=constant

From the formula, we obtain the unit of the electric field to be Newton per Coulomb(N/C) and the SI unit of an electric field is volt per meter(V/m). according to the unit, we can also define the electric field as the force exerted per unit charge.

An electric field is also described as the physical field or area around every charged particle and measures the area up to which the force is being exerted. The charged particle exerts a repulsive or attractive force on other nearby charged particles.

This is a vector quantity.

**What is Electric Potential?**

Electric potential is the measure of the electric field produced when a charge is moved from one point to another. It is also described as the energy or work done on moving a unit charge from infinity to a point on the electric field when the acceleration of the particle is zero.

The formula for electric potential is,

V=W/Q or V=Kq/r

Where,

- V=electric potential
- W=work done
- Q,q=charge
- r=distance
- K=constant

From the formula, we can derive the unit of electric potential as joules per coulomb (J/C) but the SI unit of electric potential is volt(V). From the units, we can define electric potential as the energy or work done per unit charge.

The formula for electric potential changes with a change like the charged particle and the shape of the solid for which the potential is to be determined.

This is a scalar quantity.

**Difference Between Electric Field and Electric Potential**

- The main difference between the electric field and electric potential lies in the definition. The electric field is the force exerted per unit charged particle whereas the electric potential is the energy or work done per charged particle.
- Since the electric field depends on the direction of the force exerted, it is a vector quantity. But this is not the case in electric potential as it is independent of the direction of the charged particle or the force and remains a scalar quantity.
- The formula for calculating the two measurements are different therefore there is a difference in the SI units of the two as well. The SI unit of an electric field is volt per meter or V/m whereas the SI unit of electric potential is volt or simply V.
- As the definitions suggest, the electric field measures the force exerted per charged particle. The electric potential measures the electric field per charged particle or the work done(or energy used).
- The electric potential is always a continuous function whereas the electric field is not a continuous function. It varies from region to region or point to point as it also depends on the particle the force is being exerted. But the value never tends to infinity.
- As the force exerted decreases with increase in the distance between the charged particles or the point and the charged particle, the electric field is inversely proportional to the distance. On the other hand, the electric potential is inversely proportional to the square of the distance(distance being the distance between the initial and final point).

**References**

- https://science.sciencemag.org/content/218/4571/467.abstract
- https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2002JA009429