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The volt (symbol: V) is the SI derived unit of electric potential difference or electromotive force [1]. It is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), who invented the voltaic pile, the first modern chemical battery.

Definition

The volt is defined as the potential difference across a conductor when a current of one ampere dissipates one watt of power. Hence, it is the base SI representation m2 · kg · s-3 · A-1, which can be equally represented as one joule of energy per coulomb of charge, J/C.

\mbox{V} = \dfrac{\mbox{W}}{\mbox{A}} = \dfrac{\mbox{J}}{\mbox{C}} = \dfrac{\mbox{m}^2 \cdot \mbox{kg}}{\mbox{s}^{3} \cdot \mbox{A}}

Josephson junction definition

Since 1990 the volt is maintained internationally for practical measurement using the Josephson effect, where a conventional value is used for the Josephson constant, fixed by the 18th General Conference on Weights and Measures as

K{J-90} = 0.4835979 GHz/µV.

Hydraulic analogy

In the hydraulic analogy sometimes used to explain electric circuits by comparing them to water-filled pipes, voltage is likened to water pressure - it determines how fast the electrons will travel through the circuit. Current (in amperes), in the same analogy, is a measure of the volume of water that flows past a given point, the rate of which is determined by the voltage, and the total output measured in watts. The equation that brings all three components together is: volts × amperes = watts

Common voltages

Electronic multi meter

A multimeter can be used to measure the voltage between two points


Voltages in electrophysiology

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