I'm wondering if there is a way to calculate voltage drop across part of a system if you know resistance and the potential difference of the entire system as well as its subparts but don't know the current. It seems like there should be a way considering that voltage is joules per coulomb so voltage drop shouldn't depend on how many coulombs are flowing through the system.
Let's say you have an electrical distribution wire with 40,000 volts relative to ground, but an unknown current. Let's say that the insulated wire gets grounded somehow (by a tree falling on it, etc.) You would know that the initial voltage is 40,000V and the final voltage is 0V since the current flows to the ground. Could you figure out how much voltage was dropped by the insulation on the wire and then how much voltage was dropped by the tree, assuming that you know the resistance of both the insulation and the tree, but not the current flowing through the system? If so, how?
Note: You can't figure out the current using ohm's law because the current is limited by transformers.