# Is there even a slight transient current when a piece of wire is connected to a single terminal of a cell?

Suppose I have a cell/battery , both the terminals are at non-zero potentials.If I connect a piece of wire to say the negative terminal will there be some sort of electron redistribution in the wire. The wire was initially at zero potential , when it's attached to the terminal which is at nonzero potential , shouldn't electrons redistribute themselves to make the wire equipotential ? what will be the potential of the wire if there is such a thing , I guess its the same as that of the terminal be for the wire was connected , because the way I'm seeing things , the wire appears to be just an extension of the terminal.

• See physics.stackexchange.com/questions/421473/…. You can model the end of the piece of wire as creating a capacitor with a very very small capacitance between the end of the wire and the other terminal of the battery. In this model a small amount of charge does transiently flow to charge the capacitor and to equilize the potential along the wire with the terminal of the cell. There is also an accompanying redistribution of electric field lines around the battery and wire. – jgerber May 17 at 20:45
• I think the model of "capacitance with the other terminal of the battery" is not actually complete, because you are not including what I think the questioner is truly asking about, which is: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance#Self_capacitance You can tell the difference because the further you position the wire from the other terminal of the battery, the lower their mutual capacitance will be, but the self-capacitance of the wire will remain roughly constant no matter how far away it is from the battery. – Glenn Willen May 17 at 22:26
• I think the answer is complete. It allows you to calculate how the wire charges up in time using the mutual capacitance between the end of the wire and the other terminal of the battery. I think the relationship to self capacitance that you bring up has to do with the fact that if the battery is made very big (or the wire is made very small) so that the other terminal of the battery can be considered to be "at infinity" then the value of the mutual capacitance between the end of the wire and the other terminal will approach the value of the self capacitance of the wire itself. – jgerber May 17 at 23:57