My understanding is that the anode of a battery is positive while the cathode is negative.

If you connect a wire between the cathode and the anode, then the electrons in the cathode want to flow to the protons in the anode because opposite charges attract and like charges repel.

But what if you just connect a wire to the anode. Do the free electrons in the wire flow to the protons in the anode?

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    $\begingroup$ This question may be a good problem for CHEMISTRY STACK EXCHANGE.😊😊😊😊 $\endgroup$ Jun 25 '19 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ The electrons in the wire redistribute a bit until the charge at the far end is the same positive voltage that you see at the battery terminal. Then nothing much happens after that. $\endgroup$
    – zeta-band
    Jun 25 '19 at 15:53

If you connect a wire to the end of a battery (let's say, the cathode), electrons and ions rearange themselves until equilibrium is reached and the wire becomes the new cathode.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok. I made a mistake in the question. What would happen if you connected it to the anode? Would the free electrons just flow into the anode? $\endgroup$ Jun 25 '19 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ Then wire would then become the new anode by the same process. Electrons don't flow if the circuit is not closed. Instead, charges rearrange until they reach an equilibrium. $\endgroup$
    – Chegon
    Jun 25 '19 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ I see. So then if you attached a wire to the anode and then unattached it, it would have a positive charge? In theory if you did this many many many many times could you eventually make the anode of the battery neutral? $\endgroup$ Jun 25 '19 at 16:06

The two poles of the battery are electrically neutral without static electricity. They cannot attract or repel charges. Batteries can only do work by forming a circuit, which is to transport electrons from the cathode to the anode. So, the answer to this question is that when a wire is connected to a pole, there is no internal electron change, provided that the capacitance effect is ignored.


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