In the previous section, we explored the relationship between voltage and energy. In this section, we will explore the relationship between voltage and electric field. For example, a uniform electric field E is produced by placing a potential difference (or voltage) ΔV across two parallel metal plates, labeled A and B. (See Figure 1.)
Examining this will tell us what voltage is needed to produce a certain electric field strength; it will also reveal a more fundamental relationship between electric potential and electric field. From a physicist’s point of view, either ΔV or E can be used to describe any charge distribution. ΔV is most closely tied to energy, whereas E is most closely related to force. ΔV is a scalar quantity and has no direction, while E is a vector quantity, having both magnitude and direction. (Note that the magnitude of the electric field strength, a scalar quantity, is represented by E below.) The relationship between ΔV and E is revealed by calculating the work done by the force in moving a charge from point A to point B.