Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am interested in knowing how much is one eV of energy. Everywhere I found are the technical definitions. Can anybody please tell me how much is this much energy. I need something which I can feel. I mean how much work I can do with 1 eV? Can I drive a 1000cc car for 1hour? Any of example in context of real life usage would be interesting.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

An electron volt is just the energy acquired when an electron of charge $e$ falls through a potential of 1 volt, which means $$1eV = e \times 1 = 1.6 \times 10^{-19} J$$

When you lift up your $2.5Kg$ laptop (a 15-inch apple macbook pro, for example) by a foot, you do a work of approximately $2.5 Kg \times 10 ms^{-2} \times 0.3 m = 7.5 J$ which is about $4.7 \times 10^{19} eV$. So an $eV$ is a really low energy scale by everyday standards.

One TeV (a tera electron volt) is about the energy of motion of a flying mosquito.

share|improve this answer
In CERN in running LHC project, the scientists say that they are going to do a collision of 8 TeV. So whats the big deal in that? I may be understanding something wrong. Please clear my concept.... –  Surjya Narayana Padhi Apr 5 '12 at 13:11
A subatomic particle is much, much lighter than a mosquito. In a back-of-the-envelope calculation, let's say a mosquito is 1.7 grams and a proton is 1.7 $\times 10^{-27}$ kg. So to have the same kinetic energy as a flying mosquito, the proton must be travelling about $10^{12}$ times faster than the mosquito. That's a big deal. –  ptomato Apr 5 '12 at 13:32
thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge. –  Surjya Narayana Padhi Apr 5 '12 at 14:02
Also in LHC they are running around 100 trillion protons, each having 8 TeV. The 100 trillion protons weight about 1 nanogram in total (that is like nothing), but their net kinetic energy is huge: it is like a 300 tones train going at 100 km per hour. Imagine that something weighting 1 nanogram has an energy of a fast going train. That puts things into perspective. –  mpv Dec 5 '13 at 0:04

protected by Qmechanic Dec 4 '13 at 21:56

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.