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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If the Earth is a good conductor of electricity, why don't people get electrocuted every time they touch the Earth?

Since the Earth is a good conductor of electricity, is it safe to assume that any charge that flows down to the Earth must be redistributed into the Earth in and along all directions? Does this also ...
31
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1answer
7k 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 ...
23
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6answers
4k views

Could someone intuitively explain to me Ohm's law?

Could someone intuitively explain to me Ohm's law? I understand what voltage is and how it is the electric potential energy and that it is the integral of the electric field strength etc. I also ...
23
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8answers
22k 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 ...
16
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5answers
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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 ...
16
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3answers
6k 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 ...
14
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5answers
2k views

How does a wire carry alternating current?

Consider a simple network of a bulb whose two terminals are connected to two wires with open ends A and B respectively A o--------💡--------o B Now if a DC ...
12
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1answer
346 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 ...
10
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5answers
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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 ...
10
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2answers
3k 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?
10
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3answers
964 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 ...
9
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2answers
509 views

Could anyone help explain this current voltage graph for an LED in liquid nitrogen?

I've been doing my coursework investigating LEDs at various temperatures and I've come across an interesting phenomenon which nobody I've asked has been able to explain thoroughly - wheras at room ...
9
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2answers
1k 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 ...
8
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5answers
4k views

How can one derive the Ohm's Law?

I am looking for the derivation of the Ohm's Law i.e., V is directly proportional to I. Can someone help me with it?
8
votes
3answers
72k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
531 views

Do the integral forms of Maxwell's Equations have limited applicability because of retardation?

In the usual bookwork treatment, it is easy to show that the differential and integral forms of Maxwell's equations are equivalent using Gauss's and Stokes's theorems. I have always thought that ...
7
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5answers
781 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
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6answers
36k 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?
7
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6answers
16k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
546 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
3answers
571 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

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
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3answers
7k 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 ...
6
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2answers
3k 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
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2answers
1k 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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2answers
2k 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 ...
6
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1answer
747 views

Child-Langmuir space charge law for non-zero cathode potential (non-zero initial electron velocity)

I'm trying to reconcile some conflicting results that I've found in publications that address the idea of the current in a vacuum diode in the case where the cathode has a non-zero potential, in other ...
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5answers
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How does insulating footwear prevent an electric shock?

The reason I have always heard to explain the reduction of electric shock when we wear insulating footwear goes as follows: When electricity passes from our body to the ground, an electric circuit ...
5
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2answers
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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 ...
5
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3answers
25k views

Current without Voltage and Voltage without Current?

At school I've always learned that you can view Current and Voltage like this: The current is the flow of charge per second and the Voltage is how badly the current 'wants' to flow. But I'm having ...
5
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4answers
15k views

Is it possible to flow current in open circuit?

As I know a battery is an example of a closed circuit where it can then produce electricity , electrons will flow from negative pole to positive. A chemistry representation of this battery is for ...
5
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4answers
2k 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 ...
5
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1answer
2k 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
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2answers
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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 ...
5
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2answers
927 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
367 views

Electric current $j^{\mu}$ in standard QED vs. scalar QED

The expression for the 4-current $j^{\mu}$ in standard QED is $$ e\bar{\Psi}\gamma^\mu\Psi $$ and $$ \frac{e}{2 i}(\psi^\dagger D^\mu \psi - (D^\mu \psi)^\dagger \psi) $$ in scalar QED. I ...
5
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2answers
3k 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
173 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
1k 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
217 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
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5answers
654 views

In what case does a Coil with Current flowing through it NOT produce a Magnetic Field?

According to what I've studied, when Current flows through a Coil, a Magnetic field is produced. Recently, I've been told that there is a case in which Current flows through a Coil Without producing ...
4
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4answers
1k 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
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4answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
20k views

Will current pass without any resistance?

I've learned that a resistor converts some electrical energy into heat energy while the current flows through it and thus causes a power loss, but what if there's not any resistor in a circuit. Will ...
4
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3answers
4k 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
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2answers
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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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3answers
3k 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
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1answer
537 views

What creates voltage? What causes electrons to move in a wire?

I was trying to break down how a transistor works to a friend, and I took a moment to think about electric current and voltages. I realised I do not understand where these phenomena come from. I ...
4
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3answers
337 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
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1answer
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Which derivation of drift velocity is correct?

In the derivation of drift velocity I have seen two variations and want to know which one's correct. $s=ut+\frac{at^2}{2}$ Assume that the drift velocity of any electron in any conductor is : ...