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I am currently having problems understanding the energy transformations that occur when resistance in a solid conducting wire restricts current flow.

From my understanding, resistance in a solid copper conducting wire, for example, is caused by:

  1. Charge carrier electrons colliding with other charge carrier electron while in random motion

  2. Charge carrier electrons colliding with stationary lattice copper cations that are in the way.

I have always thought these collisions were 'inelastic' and the kinetic energy of the electrons is converted into heat energy in a heating element, or light energy in a light globe.

However my internet sources always state that it is the potential energy of the electrons which is converted into heat energy in a heating element, etc.

So I am currently confused to whether it is the electric potential energy or kinetic energy of the electrons which is converted to other energy forms

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The way I imagine it is that the conduction electrons in a wire move under the influence of the applied electric field and then periodically transfer their kinetic energy to the surrounding atomic lattice. But this kinetic energy comes from the applied electric field (i.e, the electric potential energy). So I think that although you may be right in saying that kinetic energies do play a role in the process, that it should be recognized that all that electronic kinetic energy that's being transferred to the lattice ultimately comes from the interaction of the electrons with the applied electric field.

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