# How do electrons actually move in an alternating current?

Here's what I think the motion of electrons would be like.

Let's say the electrons were initially at rest. Now, when the voltage starts increasing, the electrons start accelerating faster till the voltage reaches its maximum value. When the voltage starts decreasing to zero, the electron's velocity is still increasing but the acceleration is decreasing. When the voltage reaches zero, the electrons experience no acceleration but it's still moving with some velocity. Now, as we're talking about AC condition, the voltage reverses its polarity and this causes the velocity of the electrons to slow down real fast. After the voltage reaches its maximum value (negative), it starts increasing to zero. This causes the electrons to lose its velocity slowly as the acceleration (negative) is decreasing and when the voltage reaches zero, the electrons are at rest. Then this pattern keeps repeating. So, in a way, the electrons move in the same direction in an alternating current but it moves and stops repeatedly.

Is this thinking correct or am I wrong somewhere?

• It sounds as if you expect there to be some net movement of electrons in the "positive" direction in an AC circuit. But which direction is "positive?" Voltage is what makes the electrons move, and the average voltage over any whole number of cycles in a "pure" AC circuit is zero. – Solomon Slow Dec 3 '19 at 14:29