I’ve looked at the answers given to the previous times this question has been asked, but I still don’t seem to understand how this holds in the case of a closed circuit. Here’s an explanation given before:
“Think of the wire as a horizontal cylinder. If you apply an electric field pointing to the left, the electrons in the wire will move to the right, so that eventually they collect on the right side, and there is a deficit of electrons on the left. This distribution of charge (positive on the left, negative on the right) produces a field of its own, pointing to the right, which works against your applied field. This process will continue, until there is no net field left inside the conductor; the equilibrium is reached once there is no more field and thus the electrons experience no net force.”
This makes enough sense to me if we’re talking about a cylinder, but not a closed loop. Isn’t the whole point of an emf source in a circuit to prevent this sort of cancellation of fields? Instead of allowing electrons to clump up at the positive terminal of a battery, the battery “forces” the charges to the negative terminal to repeat the another cycle through the circuit, so how is it that the electric field in the conducting material of the wire has to necessarily be equal to zero?
I think this also may comes back to a misunderstanding I have about resistance. I’ve always thought of it as this sort of hand wavy property of a material that predicts the ratio of the potential difference through it to the current that runs through it. What part of this property actually allows an electric field to exist to establish a potential difference in a material?