A measure of the rate at which electric charge is transported (especially through a circuit), it has units of charge/time.

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3k views

Why is the Ampere a base unit and not the Coulomb?

I always thought of current as the time derivative of charge, $\frac{dq}{dt}$. However, I found out recently that it is the Ampere that is the base unit and not the Coulomb. Why is this? It seems to ...
18
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7answers
12k views

Why is the charge naming convention wrong?

I recently came to know about the Conventional Current vs. Electron Flow issue. Doing some search I found that the reason for this is that Benjamin Franklin made a mistake when naming positive and ...
12
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1answer
269 views

Supersymmetric Noether theorem and supercurrents — invariance requirements

Consider $\mathcal{N}=1,d=4$ SUSY with $n$ chiral superfields $\Phi^i,$ Kaehler potential $K,$ superpotential $W$ and action ($\overline{\Phi}_i$ is complex conjugate of $\Phi^i$) $$ S= \int d^4x ...
11
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2answers
4k views

How does electricity propagate in a conductor?

On a systems level, I understand that as electrons are pushed into a wire, there is a net field and a net electron velocity. And I've read that the net electron drift is slow. But electricity ...
10
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5answers
32k views

Why is AC more “dangerous” than DC?

After going through several forums, I became more confused whether it is DC or AC that is more dangerous. In my text book, it is written that the peak value of AC is greater than that of DC, which is ...
10
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3answers
553 views

How does electricity 'decide' on it's pathway? [duplicate]

I'm struggling to understand the fundamental concepts of electricity, more specifically, the way in which it 'chooses' its optimal pathway. I appreciate electricity will always choose the path of ...
7
votes
5answers
737 views

Difference between ways of transmitting power

There are two ways to transmit the same amount of power, 1 amp at 1 million volts or 1 million amps at 1 volt. Conceptually what is the difference? How can I think about it conceptually? I would ...
7
votes
3answers
38k views

Why do birds, sitting on electric wires, not get shocked?

If we would touch electric wires, we would get a shock, even if we are not touching ground (so that no connection is complete form wire to ground through us). I always see that birds sit on electric ...
7
votes
1answer
657 views

Relativistic drift velocity of electrons in a superconductor?

Is there a formula for the effective speed of electron currents inside superconductors? The formula for normal conductors is: $$ V = \frac{I}{nAq}$$ I wonder if there are any changes to this ...
6
votes
3answers
316 views

Why does my measured I-V curve for a film of aluminum suggest high resistance?

I plotted the I-V curve between two points (few microns apart) on a thin aluminum film. I expected this metal to be a conductor and have a much lower resistance, but the slope suggests that it is ...
6
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2answers
2k views

How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
6
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2answers
894 views

Does the photoelectric effect obey Ohm's law?

So, I've been reading about the photoelectric effect for my modern physics class, and I was confused about how Ohm's law works in relation to it. Say we have a photoelectric apparatus that simply ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How electric currents can flow between 2 points at the same potential?

According to Ohm's law, if there is a potential difference, $V$, across a resistor then there is a current, $I$, flowing through it. Since we assume that points along the connecting wire are at the ...
6
votes
2answers
339 views

Will I get a shock when I try to use my hair-dryer under water?

Occasionally people get killed in their bathtubs by having an electrical device such as a hair-dryer take the bath with them - in movies. It seems to be a common belief that this is realistic, even ...
6
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4answers
240 views

Intuition behind Faraday's Law?

Faraday's Law seems more like an observation than an explanation. Sure, a changing magnetic current causes emf, but why? How does a changing magnetic field cause electrons to move in the direction of ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Voltage and current of positive lightning

For a physics issues investigation I chose to investigate what effects lightning could have on an aeroplane while in flight if it was struck and then go on to discuss some possible implications of ...
5
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6answers
19k views

In an alternating current, do electrons flow from the source to the device?

If electrons in an alternating current periodically reverse their direction, do they really flow? Won't they always come back to the same position?
5
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6answers
12k views

Difference between current and voltage sources

I am confused about the current and voltage. My intuitive example would be that of a pipe of say water. The diameter of the pipe determines the amount of water flowing per second but the pressure is ...
5
votes
4answers
541 views

How does the speed of electrons change around a circuit?

I have been thinking about ways of teaching electronics and I'm wondering if the following is true... For starters, when we talk about voltage as energy per unit charge, is this energy manifest ...
5
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4answers
6k views

is it possible to flow current in open circuit?

First , i don't know much about chemistry and physics. I'm just a graphic designer but i have this question in my mind. I'm sorry if this question is too basic and use 'generic' language. As i know ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Does rubber insulate lightning more effectively than air?

Last week, an Ars Technica writer was struck by lightning. He says that the 911 operators were concerned about whether or not he was wearing shoes at the time, but he didn't think it would make much ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Where do electrons in electricity come from?

Where do the electrons come from when an electric generator is making electricity? Is from the air? Would a generator work in a vacuum? Electrons have mass so where would they be pulled from if ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How to calculate required current and specifications for a “wet coil” to generate x Tesla of magnetic field?

A water management project requires a "wet coil" (coil will be submerged in aqueous media) designed to generate a steady-state electromagnetic field of adjustable magnetic magnetic flux density at the ...
5
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3answers
127 views

Charge signs in current

I've had recently an argument with my friend about different charge carriers in an electric current. Suppose that electrons and holes are moving in the same direction. It effectively means we have ...
5
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3answers
432 views

How do charge carriers move thermal energy? (Peltier effect)

I am having hard time understanding how the charge carriers (electrons and holes) are able to move thermal energy. I am on a high school physics level, so I will probably have a hard time ...
5
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2answers
169 views

How does current flow in a irregularly shaped heterogeneous resistor?

The motivation for my question is understanding how electricity gets through your skin as opposed to running along it, and how the presence of things like water on the skin affect the relative ...
4
votes
4answers
822 views

Are square wave really square or are they always relative approximations using harmonics

I'm studying the properties of waves through different mediums, and got hung up on this. Is a square wave always a sum of harmonics or can we produce a square wave by quickly changing voltage? Is ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

Why is current a scalar quantity?

Current has both magnitude and direction. As per the definition of vector defined in encyclopedia, current should be a vector quantity. But, we know that current is a scalar quantity. What is the ...
4
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3answers
2k views

How is possible for current to flow so fast when charge flows so slow?

How is possible for current to flow so fast when charge flows so slow? We know electrons travel very slowly while charge travels at ~the speed of light.
4
votes
2answers
6k views

How does electricity flow in conductor when potential difference is applied?

Electrons move from higher potential to lower potential. When a conductor is connected to battery, electron move from negative terminal to positive terminal. But the battery itself forms a Electric ...
4
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2answers
2k views

How do stun guns not kill people?

Now, I've seen a lot of answers to this sort of question, but most of them provide answers that don't actually make sense from a physics perspective. As an example of such an answer, I've commonly ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Can a current carrying loop or wire produces no magnetic field?

A current carrying wire produces magnetic field around it. We can find the direction by Fleming's Right hand rule. We know change in electric filed produces magnetic field and change on magnetic field ...
4
votes
3answers
181 views

Is it possible to prove conventional current is always equivalent to actual current?

I understand how the conventional current is logically equivalent to the actual current of electrons in a circuit. However, whenever I'm studying some new concept, and things are assumed as working ...
4
votes
4answers
779 views

How can there be a Current and an Electric field in an idealized wire with no voltage drop?

In an ideal circuit, How can there be a current b/w points a & b, when there is no potential difference and thus no electric field between a & b? If there is no current, then where does ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Capacitor circuits with light bulb

Let's say we have a normal circuit with a light bulb, with wires and a battery. When one places a capacitor in this circuit, how is the light bulb able to light up, even when the capacitor prevents ...
4
votes
2answers
240 views

Why does welding produce UV light?

Looking directly at a welder is dangerous because large amounts of UV light is produced. What makes this light? Is it electrons from the current that excites metal atoms, and these atoms sends out UV ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Speakers and Static from Hands

Why is it that when you touch the a bare male end of a speaker feed that the speaker makes hissing noises? Is it just (eddy?) currents running through you?
4
votes
1answer
55 views

Why is Kirchoff's Current Rule valid?

The fact that Kirchoff's Current Rule is valid means that whatever current flows in flows out. But this will only be valid for a steady current circuit, that is, when there is no accumulation of ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

Conserved topological charge for d=3 Yang-Mills. G=U(2)

Consider a pure Yang-Mills lagrangian density $$\mathcal{L}=-\frac{1}{4}F^{\mu\nu}_aF^a_{\mu\nu}$$ with gauge group $U(2)$. Take the generators for $U(2)$ to be $t_0$, $t_i \ i=1,...,3$ with ...
4
votes
1answer
457 views

quantum mechanics current operators

How to derive the charge current and the energy current operators in second quantized form in Quantum mechanics ? Also if you could comment in a similar way on the entropy current operator, that will ...
4
votes
1answer
542 views

Relating the variance of the current operator to measurements

(EDIT: Thanks to Nathaniel's comments, I have altered the question to reflect the bits that I am still confused about.) This is a general conceptual question, but for definiteness' sake, imagine a ...
4
votes
2answers
105 views

Why can't an excess of electrons or holes by themselves cause current flow?

I am a beginner in electrical engineering. Often times (most cases actually), the underlying physics aren't really explained to us and we are just left to assume that it works "because it works." This ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does it mean for electric current to be a scalar?

After reading the reasons for considering electric current as a scalar quantity, I was confused at a point which read "The magnitude and direction of current does not depend upon the direction of the ...
4
votes
2answers
751 views

How can I cause a levitating magnet to rotate?

I have a device like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA_hw_lY-OY (All of them work the same) Here's an image: I want to make it spin without touching it with hands. I tried using magnets ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Distribution of current of a rotating cone

If I have a hollow cone (surface with no bottom cover ) as the one in the picture. The cone has surface charged density $\sigma$. It rotates around the symmetry axis with an angular velocity ...
3
votes
6answers
10k views

Parallel circuits - Overall resistance decreases with additional resistor [closed]

Let's say that there is a parallel circuit with two identical resistors in parallel with each other. If a third resistor, identical to the other two, is added in parallel with the first two, the ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

Why is the anode (+) in a device that consumes power & (-) in one that provides power?

I was trying to figure out the flow of electrons in a battery connected to a circuit. Conventionally, current is from the (+) terminal to the (-) terminal of the battery. Realistically it flows the ...
3
votes
2answers
561 views

Under what condition charges do not flow in closed circuit?

I wanted to ask under what conditions will charges not flow in a closed circuit. Or when is current through the circuit zero even when an EMF is applied? Like in the case of potentiometer, we say that ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Round bulb and Long bulb in Series Circuit

If you have a series circuit with a battery, one round bulb (with thicker filament), and one long bulb (with thinner filament), the round bulb does not light up and only the long bulb lights up. ...
3
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3answers
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Why does the current stay the same in a circuit?

I was informed that in a circuit, the current will stay the same, and this is why the lightbulbs will light up (because in order for the current to stay the same, the drift speed of the electrons need ...