# Difference between electric potential energy and electrostatic potential energy?

We know that electrical potential energy is the work done in bringing a set of charges from infinity to a point opposite to electric field.

And in electrostatic potential energy there is only one difference that here it is only one positive charge not a set.

My question is that how their units are same, i.e. volt.

According to me volt is the SI unit of the electrostatic potential energy as one volt is work done per unit charge. So there is one unit charge not so many, so we should not consider electrical potential energy.

• Electrostatic potential energy requires tw0 charges. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 12:43
• @garyp an electric charge in an electric field has potential energy? so having two charges is not a necessary condition. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 13:13
• @YashasSamaga Charges are necessary for the production of that electric field. Generally, every type of potential energy requires (by definition) an interaction between two objects. It's possible to ignore this fact, and most introductory presentations do ignore it. For example, the earth is usually not explicitly mentioned in discussions of gravitational potential energy. However this causes conceptual difficulty for novices with regard to choosing a system and energy accounting. E.g. distinguishing between potential energy, internal work, and external work. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 15:07

## 3 Answers

The is no difference between electrostatic potential energy and electric(al) potential energy.

I think that you are mixing up electric potential energy of a system of changes and the electric potential at a point.

The electric potential energy of a system of charges is the work done by an external force in moving the charges (two or more) to a new set of positions which initially started in an arrangement which was defined to have zero electric potential energy (often all the charges starting at infinity).
The unit of electric potential energy is the joule.

The electric potential at a point is the work done by an external force in moving unit positive charge from an arbitrarily chosen zero of potential (often infinity) to the point.
The unit of electric potential is the volt (=joule/coulomb).

• But farcher please see a video on YouTube named examfear electrostatic potential part 6 and 7. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 8:56
• @ShobhitSwami The videos are about electrostatic potential not electrostatic potential energy. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 9:01
• Difference between them @electrostatic potential ,electrostatic potential energy and electric potential and electric potential energy. Please Farcher its urgent . Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 16:48
• @ShobhitSwami Read my answer. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 16:50
• OK,it means when we talk electric potential energy then it is for system and only electric potential ,it is for a point.If I am right,please differentiate between electrostatic potential and electrostatic potential energy Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 16:54

First of all both electrostatic potential energy and electric potential energy are basically energy so their S. I. unit in Joule and not Volt now when you coin the term electrostatic so it contains the term static that means charges are not moving . hence we calculate it for a electron system only (that is only two charges)and for a group we use the term electric potential energy. Moreover electron-volt is the unit of energy not volt . don't get confused by that...

• Electrostatic potential energy requires tw0 charges. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 12:45
• @ZeroTheHero electric potential energy is measured in eV(electron- volts) which is an unit of energy and not volts. Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 12:53

Both electrical potential energy and Electrostatic potential energy are due to a point charge. Its difference is that the initial may be charged due to electric current and the latter due to rubbing with another material (electrostatically), but the units are same, Joules. Volts is the SI unit for electrical potential or electrostatic potential and not energy.