Electrostatic Potential Energy

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Hayden Lee 1C
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:57 pm

Electrostatic Potential Energy

Postby Hayden Lee 1C » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:23 pm


Can someone describe the concept of electrostatic potential energy to me? We recently covered this in our most previous lecture, but I couldn't quite understand what it is and how it is related to the charges of protons and electrons within an atom. Thanks a lot!

Samudrala_Vaishnavi 3A
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:34 pm

Re: Electrostatic Potential Energy

Postby Samudrala_Vaishnavi 3A » Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:40 am

Electrostatic potential energy can just be thought as the amount of energy a particle retains relative to the outside forces it is facing. It is influenced by mainly two things: repulsion forces and attraction forces of the nucleus referred to as nuclear charge. Repulsion forces are between two electrons and counteract the nuclear attraction forces which lowers the nuclear charge. This is reflected through the fact that electrons in the s-orbital tend to protect the electrons in the p-orbital form getting attracted by the nuclear forces which lowers the p-orbital electrons' nuclear charge and this nuclear charge decreases the larger the l or further away the orbital is from the nucleus in general. The less the nuclear charge, the more electrostatic potential energy or energy, the electron has. This is why we see that with multi-electron atoms, the orbitals are not "degenerate" to the energies of the shell (n) itself but have different energy levels based on their electrons' possible positions relative to the nucleus and the forces I just mentioned.

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