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I've found some equations which I should be able to use to calculate the electric field of a uniformly charged rod. What I was wondering was if I could use this to calculate the electric field strength around a wire. I realized that there may be an issue with that because the charged rod is assumed to have a stationary amount of charge while the charge in a wire would be moving. An ampere is one coulomb of charge per second, so for a one meter wire that's conducting one amp of electricity, could I simply convert that to one coulomb per meter and use that as charge density, then calculate the electric field the way I would for a charged rod? I was using this equation for the charged rod.

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There is no standard conversion of current to charge density because a wire can be neutral (in fact, most are) and still transport charges.

If all the negative charges are moving one way and the positive charges standing still, there's still a current even though the wire is neutral.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh. So you're saying that a wire with a certain current wouldn't necessarily have an electric field. It would still have a magnetic field, right? $\endgroup$ – Tom Aug 25 '17 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ Yes thats correct $\endgroup$ – Señor O Aug 25 '17 at 5:08
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    $\begingroup$ Well don't I feel silly. Just learning this stuff I guess. $\endgroup$ – Tom Aug 25 '17 at 5:15

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