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# Electric Potential Question

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1. Hey,

Why is it that V, the electric potential, can be positive and negative, yet it is suppose to be a scalar?
2. Scalars can be positive or negative. A positive unit charge is used in the definition so moving towards a negative charge with not other charges in the system will produce a negative potential.
3. (Original post by morgan8002)
Scalars can be positive or negative. A positive unit charge is used in the definition so moving towards a negative charge with not other charges in the system will produce a negative potential.
Oh so it's just a convention thing?
Oh so it's just a convention thing?
No. If you used a negative test charge then you'd flip the sign of the potential, so no matter which one you use you can get a negative in some circumstances.
5. (Original post by morgan8002)
No. If you used a negative test charge then you'd flip the sign of the potential, so no matter which one you use you can get a negative in some circumstances.
Yeah...so it is a convention thing? Ie they're only arbitrarily defined as + or - due to the convention of talking in terms of a positive test charge?
Yeah...so it is a convention thing? Ie they're only arbitrarily defined as + or - due to the convention of talking in terms of a positive test charge?
Yeah. They'll also change depending on where you define your reference point(0 potential) to be.

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