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Potential Energy of a Dipole | Physics Class 12 - NEET PDF Download

How to Find Potential Energy of a Dipole?

  • Consider a dipole with charges q1 = +q and q2 = -q placed in a uniform electric field as shown in the figure above. The charges are separated by a distance d and the magnitude of the electric field is E. The force experienced by the charges is given as –qE and +qE, as can be seen in the figure.
    Potential Energy of a Dipole | Physics Class 12 - NEET

Question for Potential Energy of a Dipole
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  • As we know that, when a dipole is placed in a uniform electric field, both the charges as a whole do not experience any force, but it experiences a torque equal to τ which can be given as,
    Potential Energy of a Dipole | Physics Class 12 - NEET
  • This torque rotates the dipole unless it is placed parallel or anti-parallel to the field. If we apply an external and opposite torque, it neutralizes the effect of this torque given by τext and it rotates the dipole from the angle Ɵ0 to an angle Ɵ1 at an infinitesimal angular speed without any angular acceleration.
    The amount of work done by the external torque can be given by:

Potential Energy of a Dipole | Physics Class 12 - NEET

  • As we know that the work done in bringing a system of charges from infinity to the given configuration is defined as the potential energy of the system, hence the potential energy U(Ɵ)  can be associated to the inclination Ɵ of the dipole using the above relation:
    Potential Energy of a Dipole | Physics Class 12 - NEET
  • From the above equation, we can see that the potential energy of a dipole placed in an external field is zero when the angle Ɵ is equal to 90° or when the dipole makes an angle of 90°. Considering the initial angle to be the angle at which the potential energy is zero, the potential energy of the system can be given as:
    Potential Energy of a Dipole | Physics Class 12 - NEET
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FAQs on Potential Energy of a Dipole - Physics Class 12 - NEET

1. How is the potential energy of a dipole defined?
Ans. The potential energy of a dipole is defined as the amount of work required to bring the dipole from infinity to its current position in an electric field.
2. What factors determine the potential energy of a dipole?
Ans. The potential energy of a dipole depends on the magnitude of the dipole moment, the angle between the dipole moment and the electric field, and the strength of the electric field.
3. Can the potential energy of a dipole be negative?
Ans. Yes, the potential energy of a dipole can be negative. This occurs when the dipole moment is aligned opposite to the electric field, resulting in a decrease in potential energy.
4. How does the potential energy of a dipole change with the distance from the source charge?
Ans. The potential energy of a dipole decreases as the distance from the source charge increases. This is because the electric field strength decreases with distance, resulting in a decrease in the potential energy.
5. Is the potential energy of a dipole affected by the orientation of the dipole moment?
Ans. Yes, the potential energy of a dipole is affected by the orientation of the dipole moment. The potential energy is minimized when the dipole moment is aligned with the electric field, and maximized when it is perpendicular to the electric field.
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