Questions tagged [conductors]

For questions about materials which allow the flow of an electric charge (electrical conductors) or the transfer of heat (thermal conductors) through them.

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28
votes
3answers
12k views

How does electricity propagate in a conductor?

On a systems level, I understand that as electrons are pushed into a wire, there is a net field and a net electron velocity. And I've read that the net electron drift is slow. But electricity ...
9
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1answer
5k views

Why does electrical current start to flow?

What happens microscopically when an electrical current starts to flow? I'd like to understand microscopically what happens in detail when electrons start moving (quasi-classically). Electrons can ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Drift velocity in Drude model

this is a very short question, probably I'm missing something really simple: according to Drude model, we have for the drift velocity of electrons, being also the average velocity: $$ v_d = \frac {-e ...
52
votes
9answers
52k views

Does electricity flow on the surface of a wire or in the interior?

I was having a conversation with my father and father-in-law, both of whom are in electric related work, and we came to a point where none of us knew how to proceed. I was under the impression that ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Is there no electric field inside a conductor?

I came across this statement while studying electric currents and I am confused: "There is no electric field inside a conductor. Hence no current can flow through it". Is there a fallacy in this ...
2
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3answers
353 views

Electric field inside a conductor

I would like to clear things up: How exactly the electric field inside a conductor is zero? Let a really "powerful" electric field be outside of it, how can the "few" charges in a conductor balance ...
15
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3answers
5k views

What is it about the “conduction band” of a material that is distinct from the valence band?

I'm taking a course in nanotech and we're discussing nanoelectronics. This has led to a discussion of conductors, semiconductors, and insulators. I have a number of lovely diagrams explaining the fact ...
7
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5answers
11k views

Why is the electric field inside a conductor zero in equilibrium?

My textbook says the field inside a conductor must be zero in order for the system to be equilibrium and therefore there must be no excess charge inside. Their proof: 1) Place a gaussian surface ...
2
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2answers
4k views

Does the induced charge on a conductor stay at the surface?

My textbook says that when a conductor is placed in an electric field, the electrons in it realign so that the net electric field inside the conductor is zero. There isn't a proof for this. It merely ...
13
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5answers
15k views

Why is there an electric field in a wire even though it is a conductor?

If you take a perfect conductor, there cannot be a field across it since if there were, the particles would arrange themselves in a way to cancel out the field right? Yet, why does the same not hold ...
9
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4answers
15k views

How does positive charge spread out in conductors?

I know that when there are excess positive charges in a conductor, for example, a metal sphere, the positive charges will spread out over its surface. However, I am confused about how this excess ...
12
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6answers
53k views

Why is the electric field perpendicular to every point on the surface of a conductor?

I am reading Berkeley Physics Course, Volume 2 (Electricity and Magnetism by Edward M. Purcell). I am in chapter $3$, page $92$, and the book discusses conductors. The following is from the book: ...
16
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6answers
2k views

What keeps electrons on a negatively-charged conductor from leaving?

Imagine a negatively charged conductor in a vacuum. The excess electrons will be spread out over the surface such that the net electric field inside the conductor is zero. What keeps these extra ...
5
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3answers
5k views

Why electrons flow through a wire connected to a battery?

I would like to know why does electrons flow through a wire connected to a battery as said in AC/DC: What's the Difference?.It tells that "the electrons that are stripped from the carbon electrode is ...
3
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1answer
25k views

Charge inside conductor

I know that the $E$ field inside a conductor is zero. What happens if I put a source of charge inside the conductor? Say the conductor was spherical centered on the origin and there exists a charge ...
2
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4answers
7k views

How does the drift velocity of electrons in a conductor depend on the temperature?

How does the drift velocity of electrons in a conductor depend on the temperature? I have two contradicting views for this. First, we can say that increasing the temperature of the conductor will ...
40
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5answers
31k views

Speed of light vs speed of electricity

If I arranged an experiment where light raced electricity what would be the results? Let's say a red laser is fired at the same time a switch is closed that applies 110 volts to a 12 gauge loop of ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Do electrons move around a circuit?

We could imagine a simple electronic circuit composed by a power source and a resistor. It is usual find descriptions as "The moving charged particles in an electric current are called charge ...
4
votes
1answer
443 views

Propagation of EM waves through antenna

I read in the book that when we apply high-frequency signal to a conductor, the signal propagates as a sinusoidal current in a conductor. But when the conductor is connected to the antenna, the signal ...
14
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6answers
3k views

Can a conductor run out of electrons to cancel external electric fields?

We have studied so far that electric field inside a conductor if no charge is placed inside is zero. But we know that every conductor has only a limited number of electrons. What happens when ALL the ...
4
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2answers
5k views

Electric field inside a conductor and induced charges

My textbook says two different things and I'm not sure how to reconcile these two: electric field inside a conductor is always 0. for a conductor with a cavity with a charge q inside it, the field ...
10
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9answers
72k views

Why is the charge transferred by electrons and not by protons?

Charges are transferred by electrons which we all know. But why can't it be transferred by protons? Well, I searched on Google where I found similar questions already being asked on many sites. ...
8
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1answer
4k views

Temperature dependence of resistivity in metals

We know that in high temperature, resistivity in metals goes linearly with temperature. As temperature is lowered, resistivity goes first as $T^5$ due to "electron-phonon" interaction, and then goes ...
5
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4answers
5k views

Path of EM wave propagation in a circuit wire

The image is my visualization of drift velocity and electromagnetic (EM) propagation of charge wave in a closed circuit. The slow drift velocity of the electrons follows the path of the circuit (a ...
4
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2answers
3k views

Electric Field “at” the surface of a conductor

It has been pointed out to me that the Electric field exactly on the surface of the conductor is conventionally taken to be $E=\frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}$; does this come from taking the midpoint of ...
24
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6answers
4k views

Speed of electrons in a current-carrying metallic wire: does it even make sense?

Does it make sense to speak about the speed of electrons in a current-carrying wire (non perfect conductor)? If so, what is their speed? Here are my thoughts: On the Internet (Wikipedia, ...
7
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2answers
601 views

Why do the charges on a parallel plate capacitor lie only on the inner surface?

In most pictures I've seen of parallel plate capacitors, charges are drawn so that they're entirely on the inner surface of the plates. I accept that there can't be any net charge within the ...
4
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3answers
2k views

electrostatic shielding

When we have an uncharged conductor with a cavity and apply an external electric field, the charges rearrange to keep the electric field inside the metal zero. The driving force is the need to keep ...
3
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4answers
2k views

Flux linkage inside of a conductor

Can someone explain to me why the flux linkage inside of a conductor is dependent on the cross sectional area of the conductor? My book says that d$\lambda$ = $(x/r)^2\phi$ where $\phi$ is the ...
2
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4answers
4k views

Why are excess charges in a conductor at the surface?

I’ve been told that coulomb repulsion pushes excess electrons to the surface of a conductor (i.e. sphere) electrostatic equilibrium, and this symmetry causes the net electric field inside to be zero. ...
1
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5answers
18k views

What is the dielectric constant of a pure conductor?

Dielectric constant is the ratio of permittivity of a medium to the permittivity of free space. How to find dielectric constant of a conductor?
6
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2answers
1k views

Charge distribution on a conducting solid disc [closed]

Imagine that you have a disc of radius $R$ with charge $Q$ on it. It is a conducting disc. What would be the charge distribution? Is there a uniform distribution over whole area? $\sigma=\textrm{...
5
votes
2answers
95k views

Why is stainless steel a poor conductor of electricity?

I recently had a metal plate put in my shoulder and was wondering why stainless steel isn't a good conductor (At least I hope it isn't). Does the alloy just lack free electrons? Why is that?
1
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1answer
14k views

Why don't you get electrocuted when you jump and touch an electric fence?

I've read that you won't get electrocuted if you jump and touch an electric fence because you aren't closing the circuit with the ground. Which is also why birds don't get electrocuted when they're ...
0
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1answer
1k views

What is the distribution of charge on two conducting spheres?

There are two conducting spheres of charges $Q_1$ and $Q_2$ and respective radii of $r_1$ and $r_2$ with center-to-center separation of $L$. Can the distribution of charge on each of the conducting ...
0
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1answer
2k views

Charge Distribution On Hollow Sphere

Say we have a hollow conducting sphere (with some finite thickness). If this object has an excess charge amounting to +Q coulomb, and there is no extra electric field in the surroundings (due to ...
-2
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3answers
137 views

Potential drop in a resistor

What causes a potential drop in a resistor or load? Why a does wire with neglible resistance have the same potential across it?
4
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1answer
9k views

Surface charge density relation with the radius of curvature at the surface of a conductor [closed]

In a text book it was given that the surface charge density of a conductor at a particular region on its surface is inversely proportional to the radius of curvature at that region. I didn't ...
1
vote
1answer
372 views

Why don't charges build up on wires like plates of a capacitor?

Suppose you have a parallel plate capacitor and you want to charge it by using a battery. You will connect the plates with the two terminals of the battery. Now my book says that the charges will get ...
1
vote
2answers
701 views

Why does the superposition principle work in method of images?

Okay, let there be a conducting sphere having radius $a$ initially charged with $Q$ & insulated. Now, $q$ is brought in front of the conductor at $y$ from the center. Now, Jackson in his book ...
0
votes
3answers
665 views

Heating of an non-ohmic conductor

So I know that if you increase the voltage across a wire then the current will increase. But an increase in current leads to a increase in heat production though $P=I^2R$, but as the temperature ...
126
votes
4answers
37k views

Why can I touch aluminum foil in the oven and not get burned?

I cook frequently with aluminum foil as a cover in the oven. When it's time to remove the foil and cook uncovered, I find I can handle it with my bare hands, and it's barely warm. What are the ...
58
votes
6answers
27k views

If water is not a good conductor, why are we advised to avoid water near electricity (no wet hands near circuits etc.)?

How can water be a medium to conduct current while its ionisation is so negligible that, in principle, no current should flow?
22
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5answers
5k views

Why don't free electrons escape from a conductor?

The thermal velocity of the free electron in a metallic conductor varies from $10^5\ \mathrm{m/s}$ to $10^6\ \mathrm{m/s}$. In spite of high velocity, free electrons fail to escape from the metallic ...
5
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3answers
6k views

Charge distribution on plates [closed]

$A,B,C$ are $3$ identical metallic plates. Initially, charges $Q$, $4Q$ and $2Q$ were given to $A$,$B$ and $C$ respectively. Find final charge distributions when $B$ was earthed and $A$ and $C$ were ...
4
votes
6answers
9k views

Force on a point charge $q$ inside a cavity in an uncharged conductor

This is problem 2.40 from Introduction to Electrodynamics by D. J. Griffiths: A point charge $q$ is inside a cavity (not necessarily spherical or anything similarly regular) in an uncharged ...
7
votes
3answers
19k views

If the current is increased, is there more charge flowing or is it moving quicker?

Problem Current is the amount of charge that is flowing through a component per unit of time. For a given voltage, Ohm's law tells us that if we increase the resistance, then the current must ...
7
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3answers
17k views

When two spheres of equal charge make contact, why does the larger sphere gain more charge?

Suppose that two spheres, $S_1$ and $S_2,$ with radii $R_1$ and $R_2$ resp. have the same uniform charge $Q$ and $R_1 > R_2.$ After they are forced to come in contact, why does $S_1$ gain more ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Work done by magnetic field on current carrying conductor

Suppose a wire of length L carrying a current I is kept in a uniform magnetic field B perpendicular to the current. The force on the wire will be IBL and work done by magnetic force when wire moves a ...
11
votes
1answer
300 views

Why there is no hole in Sommerfeld's model of free electrons?

My question is very naive. I don't understand why there are no holes in Sommerfeld's model of free electrons? Whenever an electron is excited above the Fermi level $E_F=\mu(0)$, there should be a hole....