If I were to get a conductor e.g. a piece of copper wire or aluminium and connect it to one pole of a battery (let's take the positive pole for example), will electrons be removed from the conductor forming Cu or Al ions? Or does the flow only start when the circuit is completed?
I think as soon as a pole is connected, some physical change takes place. Let's say you connect both poles, there needs to be a potential difference, and I would think that difference would need to be "felt" by the other side for the electrons to flow. But if the second pole was only connected later, there needs to be a potential difference, so the metal would be charged (or I believe, ionised). Am I right in saying this?
Also, if electrons are flowing through a wire, can you say the wire is ionised, or am I getting this wrong?