### coulomb potential energy

Posted:

**Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:41 pm**can someone explain to me the electrostatic/coulomb potential energy and its significance? I know it's proportional to (q1)(q2)/r.

Created by Dr. Laurence Lavelle

https://lavelle.chem.ucla.edu/forum/

https://lavelle.chem.ucla.edu/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=48661

Page **1** of **1**

Posted: **Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:41 pm**

can someone explain to me the electrostatic/coulomb potential energy and its significance? I know it's proportional to (q1)(q2)/r.

Posted: **Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:27 am**

I believe that the significance of Coulomb's law is to understand the interaction between electrons and the nucleus by representing it in the form of an equation. For instance, since an electron has a negative charge while the nucleus of an atom has a positive charge, then there is an attractive force between them. This means that the farther an electron is away from the nucleus, the higher the potential energy of that electron is (similar to how the higher an object is off the ground, the higher the potential energy is for falling). This is reflected in Coulomb's law because the potential energy would be proportional to , so as r increases, the potential energy also increases. Hope this helps!

Posted: **Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:47 am**

bellaha3L wrote:can someone explain to me the electrostatic/coulomb potential energy and its significance? I know it's proportional to (q1)(q2)/r.

Coulomb's Law shows the relationship between q1, q2, and r, and their effects on the attractive forces between particles.

-if q1 and q2 are opposite charges, then there is an attractive force between particles

-if q1 and q2 are the same charge, then there is a repulsive force between particles

-larger values of q1 and q2 will result in a larger attractive force (since q1 and q2 are in the numerator)

-the smaller the value of r (distance between particles), the stronger the attractive force (since r is in the denominator)

-the larger the value of r (distance between particles), the weaker the attractive force (since r is in the denominator)

-therefore, Coulumb's Law is useful is helping us see how the force between particles is dependent on both charge and distance.

Posted: **Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:54 am**

What does the infinity-like symbol next to the equation (q1)(q2)/r mean?

Also, would we need this equation to do calculations or is it just the concept about like attraction and potential energy that we need to understand?

Also, would we need this equation to do calculations or is it just the concept about like attraction and potential energy that we need to understand?

Posted: **Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:59 am**

Diana Chavez-Carrillo 3J wrote:What does the infinity-like symbol next to the equation (q1)(q2)/r mean?

Also, would we need this equation to do calculations or is it just the concept about like attraction and potential energy that we need to understand?

That symbol means that the potential energy is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to

(q1)(q2)/r. The proportional sign just indicates that there may be other constants in the equation.