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# potential difference

Potential difference is a quantity related to the amount of energy needed to move an object from one place to another against various types of forces. The term is most often used as an abbreviation of "electrical potential difference", but it also occurs in many other branches of physics. Only changes in potential or potential energy (not the absolute values) can be measured.

Electrical potential difference is the voltage between two points, or the voltage drop transversely over an impedance (from one extremity to another). It is related to the energy needed to move a unit of electrical charge from one point to the other against the electrostatic field that is present. The unit of electrical potential difference is the volt (joule per coulomb).

Gravitational potential difference between two points on Earth is related to the energy needed to move a unit mass from one point to the other against the Earth's gravitational field. The unit of gravitational potential differences is joules per kilogram.