What is the difference between potential difference and voltage?

I have it written down in my notebook like this: Potential difference is electrical energy produced by the cell. Voltage is the amount of energy used by a component (lightbulb). Are they correct?
Then what would total charge (Q) be?
Thank you guys

1 Answer
Mar 25, 2017


Voltage is the electromotive force, or the electric tension.
Potential difference is a measure of stored energy of any form.
Charge (Q) is the force on a particle in an electric field.


An electric generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. It has been engineered so that as it turns it produces an electromagnetic field that builds up pressure on electrons, creating an electric charge.

These charged electrons respond to the pressure by flowing out of the generator through connection points and wires, and this electron flow is referred to as current. For current to flow there must exist a complete path for the electrons to return to the generator and this becomes an electric circuit.

The force of the pressure on the electrons can be measured and controlled and the force produced is the voltage. When used to describe electrical operations, voltage is also called potential difference which is the voltage across any item or any two points installed in the circuit.

Potential difference can also refer to stored energy in many other forms, such as mechanical, chemical, gravitational and magnetic.
When a cat jumps onto a table it has gained the potential difference in energy between the table and floor until it is chased off to the floor again.

The generator above may be turned as a result of the potential difference of a tower of water that turns a propeller attached to it.