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College Physics

11th Edition
Raymond A. Serway + 1 other
ISBN: 9781305952300

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Section
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College Physics

11th Edition
Raymond A. Serway + 1 other
ISBN: 9781305952300
Textbook Problem

A proton is released from rest in a uniform electric field. Determine whether the following quantities increase, decrease, or remain unchanged as the proton moves. Indicate your answers with I (increase), D (decrease), or U (unchanged), respectively. (a) The electric potential at the proton’s location (b) The proton’s associated electric potential energy (c) Its kinetic energy (d) Its total energy.

(a)

To determine
The electric potential at proton’s location.

Answer
(D) The electric potential at proton’s location decreases.

Explanation

A particle with positive charge moves from higher potential to lower potential. Therefore, as the proton move, electric potential decreases.

Conclusion:

(D) The electric potential at proton’s location decreases.

(b)

To determine
The electric potential energy.

Answer
(D) The electric potential energy decreases.

Explanation

The proton moves from higher potential to lower potential. It accelerates towards the negative potential causing its kinetic energy to increase. Therefore, its potential energy decreases.

Conclusion:

(D) The electric potential energy decreases.

(c)

To determine
The kinetic energy.

Answer
(I) The kinetic energy increases.

Explanation

The proton moves from higher potential to lower potential. It accelerates towards the negative potential causing its kinetic energy to increase.

Conclusion:

(I) The kinetic energy increases.

(d)

To determine
The total energy.

Answer
(U) The total energy is unchanged.

Explanation

Increase in kinetic energy is accompanied by decrease in potential energy. Thus, the total energy which is the sum of kinetic and potential energy will be constant.

Conclusion:

(U) The total energy is unchanged.

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