# The simplest definition of VOLTAGE you can come up with

#### gubavac111

May 18, 2019
14
I've measured it thousands of times, talked about it hundreds of times, but never reaaaaally understood it.

All those definitions seemed so complex, as if they are trying to make the voltage seem so mysterious.

So, after a little bit of thinking, I think the simplest definition of voltage I could come up with would be:

"Voltage is the difference in the amount of electrons between 2 (or more) points."

What do you think? First of all, am I mistaken? If I am, how so?

How would you explain voltage in the dumbest terms possible?

#### BobK

Jan 5, 2010
7,682
It is wrong in so many ways, I don’t know how to start.

First, you can have a voltage without any electrons.

Second. If the electrons are simply at different places in a vacuum, the voltage depends not only on the number, but how far apart they are.

A correct simple definition would be the amount of work required to move a unit of charge from one ppint to another.

Bob

#### Cannonball

May 6, 2017
193
voltage is an electromotive force.

#### Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
6,984
Good reason it is called a potential difference.

#### hevans1944

##### Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
4,889
How would you explain voltage in the dumbest terms possible?
Voltage is always measured between two and only two physically separated points in space. Voltage is a scalar quantity, having a magnitude but no preferred direction. When a voltage potential difference exists, it creates a vector electric field, the negative of whose gradient is a measure of the voltage and whose direction is from a more positive point to a less positive point in the vector electric field. Voltage is a measure of how much energy is required to move a "test charge" from one point to the other point when the "test charge" is under the influence of the voltage electric field. For example, an electron "falling" through a potential of one volt gains one electron-volt of energy.

Albert Einstein said that things should be explained as simple as possible... but not simpler. Did someone misinform you that physics was simple?

#### HellasTechn

Apr 14, 2013
1,579
Maybe this picture will help you a bit to "get the picture".

#### Attachments

• Ohms Law.jpg
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#### caps

Jul 29, 2018
183
Voltage, provided by an energy source such as a battery, is what causes current to flow.

#### caps

Jul 29, 2018
183
Information taken from here.
Digital Multimeter Principles by Glen A. Mazur, American Technical Publishers.

#### gubavac111

May 18, 2019
14
It is wrong in so many ways, I don’t know how to start.

First, you can have a voltage without any electrons.

Second. If the electrons are simply at different places in a vacuum, the voltage depends not only on the number, but how far apart they are.

A correct simple definition would be the amount of work required to move a unit of charge from one ppint to another.

Bob

So, for example, what does 220VAC between 2 lines mean?

That 220VAC is the amount of work required to move a unit of charge from one line to another? How come I get electrocuted when I touch the line if there is some work required to move a charge?

#### gubavac111

May 18, 2019
14
Good reason it is called a potential difference.
What is potential?

#### gubavac111

May 18, 2019
14
First, you can have a voltage without any electrons.

Bob

So, what is voltage without electrons? What kind of particle is it?

#### hevans1944

##### Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
4,889
So, for example, what does 220VAC between 2 lines mean?
It means there is an alternating current (AC) with a root-mean-square or rms potential (voltage) of 220 V available between the two lines that can do work on a resistive load applied across the two lines. For example, turn the shaft of a motor, illuminate a light bulb, heat a water heater... the sort of thing which never happens spontaneously without a source of power, no matter how long or how hard you stare at the wires.

The answers to this type of question are available online using a search engine, such as Google. Such questions are generally inappropriate in a discussion forum, such as this one you now appear to be trolling. This is NOT a teaching forum. If you need education (and it is quite apparent that you do), seek it elsewhere and then come back here to ask questions pertaining to a particular topic of discussion or project your education has led you to discover.

That 220VAC is the amount of work required to move a unit of charge from one line to another? How come I get electrocuted when I touch the line if there is some work required to move a charge?
Something like that. 220 VAC represents the amount of energy available to do work. Try Google for further enlightenment.

Touching a pair of "live" wires completes an electrical circuit that begins at the power plant providing the electricity and includes all the wire coming and going from the power plant to the load, which would be you! Internally the human body is a good conductor of electricity, so moving electrical charge through it will result in electrocution. Best not to touch "live" wires to avoid getting electrocuted.

What is potential?
Again, best to Google this. There are all kinds of potential, but they all boil down to meaning the ability (the potential) to do work.

So, what is voltage without electrons? What kind of particle is it?
As I mentioned before in post #5, voltage is the negative gradient of an electrical field. Voltage is not a particle. You will need more than grade-school arithmetic (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) to grasp the concept.

There are two kinds of electrical fields, represented by opposite polarities of positive and negative. The Universe appears to be constructed of atoms, each atom having a positively charged nucleus consisting of positively charged protons, uncharged neutrons thrown in for flavor and versatility, all surrounded by a negatively charged cloud of electrons, equal in number to the number of protons. Each of these particles carries the same charge or no charge: positive for protons, negative for electrons, no charge for neutrons. From a distance, the two fields, positive from protons in the nucleus and negative from electrons paired with the protons, cancel each other so that matter ordinarily appears without a charge. There are many ways to alter the balance between positive and negative charges, but they always require the expenditure of energy to do so. This is a topic of physics and Google or a library is a good place to start learning about it.

#### BobK

Jan 5, 2010
7,682
So, what is voltage without electrons? What kind of particle is it?
There are many other charged particles, for example, protons, muons, quarks.

Also, electromagnetic waves have an electric field and therefore create a voltage, and there are no electrons in the electromagnetic wave.

Bob

#### Cannonball

May 6, 2017
193
It takes one to move one through one to get the job done. Call it whatever you want.

#### Ratch

Mar 10, 2013
1,099
I've measured it thousands of times, talked about it hundreds of times, but never reaaaaally understood it.

All those definitions seemed so complex, as if they are trying to make the voltage seem so mysterious.

So, after a little bit of thinking, I think the simplest definition of voltage I could come up with would be:

"Voltage is the difference in the amount of electrons between 2 (or more) points."

What do you think? First of all, am I mistaken? If I am, how so?

How would you explain voltage in the dumbest terms possible?

Ratch

#### hevans1944

##### Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
4,889
Of course it did, but that factoid doesn't appear to faze an uneducated troll like @gubavac111. Best not to pay the troll any mind and go on about your business here and elsewhere.

Which, on that fine note, I will say it's good to see you still alive an' kickin' @Ratch. This forum isn't nearly as interesting without your sometimes hopelessly pedantic comments.

#### gubavac111

May 18, 2019
14
It means there is an alternating current (AC) with a root-mean-square or rms potential (voltage) of 220 V available between the two lines that can do work on a resistive load applied across the two lines. For example, turn the shaft of a motor, illuminate a light bulb, heat a water heater... the sort of thing which never happens spontaneously without a source of power, no matter how long or how hard you stare at the wires.

The answers to this type of question are available online using a search engine, such as Google. Such questions are generally inappropriate in a discussion forum, such as this one you now appear to be trolling. This is NOT a teaching forum. If you need education (and it is quite apparent that you do), seek it elsewhere and then come back here to ask questions pertaining to a particular topic of discussion or project your education has led you to discover.

Something like that. 220 VAC represents the amount of energy available to do work. Try Google for further enlightenment.

Touching a pair of "live" wires completes an electrical circuit that begins at the power plant providing the electricity and includes all the wire coming and going from the power plant to the load, which would be you! Internally the human body is a good conductor of electricity, so moving electrical charge through it will result in electrocution. Best not to touch "live" wires to avoid getting electrocuted.

Again, best to Google this. There are all kinds of potential, but they all boil down to meaning the ability (the potential) to do work.

As I mentioned before in post #5, voltage is the negative gradient of an electrical field. Voltage is not a particle. You will need more than grade-school arithmetic (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) to grasp the concept.

There are two kinds of electrical fields, represented by opposite polarities of positive and negative. The Universe appears to be constructed of atoms, each atom having a positively charged nucleus consisting of positively charged protons, uncharged neutrons thrown in for flavor and versatility, all surrounded by a negatively charged cloud of electrons, equal in number to the number of protons. Each of these particles carries the same charge or no charge: positive for protons, negative for electrons, no charge for neutrons. From a distance, the two fields, positive from protons in the nucleus and negative from electrons paired with the protons, cancel each other so that matter ordinarily appears without a charge. There are many ways to alter the balance between positive and negative charges, but they always require the expenditure of energy to do so. This is a topic of physics and Google or a library is a good place to start learning about it.

Thank you for your effort, sir.

#### gubavac111

May 18, 2019
14
Of course it did, but that factoid doesn't appear to faze an uneducated troll like @gubavac111. Best not to pay the troll any mind and go on about your business here and elsewhere.

Which, on that fine note, I will say it's good to see you still alive an' kickin' @Ratch. This forum isn't nearly as interesting without your sometimes hopelessly pedantic comments.
I apologize for offending you in any way, I agree that some of the things I asked should have been googled instead of posted on the forum.

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