Questions tagged [electric-current]

A measure of the rate at which electric charge is transported (especially through a circuit), it has units of charge/time.

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67
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13answers
14k views

Why doesn't current pass through a resistance if there is another path without resistance?

Why doesn't current pass through a resistance if there is another path without resistance? How does it know there is resistance on that path ?
59
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10answers
40k views

Why is the charge naming convention wrong?

I recently came to know about the Conventional Current vs. Electron Flow issue. Doing some search I found that the reason for this is that Benjamin Franklin made a mistake when naming positive and ...
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2answers
20k views

Why is the ampere a base unit and not the coulomb?

I always thought of current as the time derivative of charge, $\frac{dq}{dt}$. However, I found out recently that it is the ampere that is the base unit and not the coulomb. Why is this? It seems to ...
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13answers
9k views

What *exactly* is electrical current, voltage, and resistance?

I am taking AP Physics right now (I'm a high school student) and we are learning about circuits, current, resistance, voltage, Ohm's Law, etc. I am looking for exact definitions of what current, ...
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3answers
12k views

Will the volt, ampere, ohm or other electrical units change on May 20th, 2019? [duplicate]

When watching a video by Veritasium about the SI units redefinition (5:29), a claim that the volt and unit of resistance (presumably the ohm) will change by about 1 part in 10 million caught my ...
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5answers
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If the Earth is a good conductor of electricity, why don't people get electrocuted every time they touch the Earth?

Since the Earth is a good conductor of electricity, is it safe to assume that any charge that flows down to the Earth must be redistributed into the Earth in and along all directions? Does this also ...
37
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5answers
23k 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 ...
37
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6answers
219k views

Why is AC more “dangerous” than DC?

After going through several forums, I became more confused whether it is DC or AC that is more dangerous. In my text book, it is written that the peak value of AC is greater than that of DC, which is ...
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6answers
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Could someone intuitively explain to me Ohm's law?

Could someone intuitively explain to me Ohm's law? I understand what voltage is and how it is the electric potential energy and that it is the integral of the electric field strength etc. I also ...
29
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5answers
4k views

Photoelectricity in daily life

Photons strike metals innumerable times in our day-to-day experience.Then, why photoelectrons do not come out of metal surface and cause current?
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10answers
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Is every open circuit a capacitor?

I think that even open-ended wires can let AC current flow through them, just with a low capacitance. I also think an antenna could be a capacitor and open ended. Am I thinking correctly?
27
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3answers
11k 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 ...
26
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4answers
10k views

How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
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6answers
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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, ...
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6answers
7k views

Does Ohm's law hold in space?

My current understanding is this: When current passes through a resistor heat is generated which the resistor then gives off to the surrounding air. That way the resistor is kept at roughly the same ...
23
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5answers
107k views

Why is current a scalar quantity?

Current has both magnitude and direction. As per the definition of vector defined in encyclopedia, current should be a vector quantity. But, we know that current is a scalar quantity. What is the ...
22
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9answers
6k views

The water analogy seems to imply that power = current. Why is this incorrect?

Many people think of the water analogy to try to explain how electromagnetic energy is delivered to a device in a circuit. Using that analogy, in a DC circuit, one could imagine the power-consuming ...
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4answers
3k views

Why don't loop currents produce light?

If a charge travels in a circle it must accelerate, thereby producing EM. However, a wire in a circular loop is analogous to many charges moving in a circle. So, why don't circular currents produce ...
21
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8answers
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How can a battery charge up another battery to a higher percentage?

Say I have my phone on 5% and a large battery pack on 35% and I charge the phone. By the end the phone is on 100% and the pack is on 12%. How can the battery pack charge the phone up to a higher ...
21
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6answers
479 views

In aluminum, how does electricity travel through the surface oxide layer?

Suppose I connect a conductive wire (cross section 1 mm$^2$) to an aluminum object. Since aluminum is highly conductive, electricity will flow smoothly inside the object with little resistance. ...
20
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7answers
8k views

Is everything a resistor?

Resistance is due to collision with protons, and pretty much everything contains protons. So technically is everything a resistor? (Or at least, can anything be a resistor?)
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3answers
9k views

Can a superconducting wire conduct unlimited current?

A superconducting wire has no electrical resistance and as such it does not heat up when current passes through it. Non-superconducting wires can be damaged by too much current, because they get too ...
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6answers
76k views

In an alternating current, do electrons flow from the source to the device?

If electrons in an alternating current periodically reverse their direction, do they really flow? Won't they always come back to the same position?
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4answers
12k views

Why does vacuum have a nonzero characteristic impedance towards electromagnetic radiation?

On Wikipedia, the impedance of free space $Z_0$ is defined as square root of the ratio of the permeability of free space $\mu_0$ to the permittivity of free space $\epsilon_0$, i.e. $$Z_0 = \sqrt{\...
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5answers
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How does a wire carry alternating current?

Consider a simple network of a bulb whose two terminals are connected to two wires with open ends A and B respectively A o--------💡--------o B Now if a DC ...
16
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6answers
72k views

Will current pass without any resistance?

I've learned that a resistor converts some electrical energy into heat energy while the current flows through it and thus causes a power loss, but what if there's not any resistor in a circuit. Will ...
16
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6answers
19k views

How is possible for current to flow so fast when charge flows so slow?

How is it possible for current to flow so fast when charge flows so slowly? We know electrons travel very slowly while charge travels at ~the speed of light.
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3answers
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Tree vs lightning rod: why does one burn and the other not?

I have this simple question, but I cannot find the answer. I saw this video about a plane getting hit by lightning. In it, Captain Joe explains why people do not get electrocuted. This has a simple ...
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3answers
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Does current run forever in water? (assuming the supply voltage is there forever)

Suppose pH of water is $6$, I think this means there is one $\text{H}^{+}$ ion for every $10^6$ water molecules. When we plug in the battery, I believe we see a current as the $\text{H}^{+}$ ions ...
15
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5answers
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Do the integral forms of Maxwell's Equations have limited applicability because of retardation?

In the usual bookwork treatment, it is easy to show that the differential and integral forms of Maxwell's equations are equivalent using Gauss's and Stokes's theorems. I have always thought that ...
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3answers
113k views

Why do birds sitting on electric wires not get shocked?

When we touch electric wires, we get shocked. Why don't birds sitting on electric wires not get shocked?
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7answers
3k views

Why the electrons below the Fermi level do not conduct electricity?

Physically, why is it that the electrons need to excited above the Fermi level to conduct electricity? In other words, why is the current zero when the electrons lie below the Fermi level? Does Pauli ...
13
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5answers
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How can one derive Ohm's Law? [duplicate]

I am looking for the derivation of Ohm's Law, i.e., $V$ is directly proportional to $I$. Can someone help me with it?
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5answers
1k views

What's the reason behind the current remaining the same after passing by a resistance?

I've been wondering why does this really happen, I mean by intuition if electrons are driven by EMF (ignoring wire's resistance), $n$ coulombs would pass by a point per second, until they encounter ...
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6answers
20k views

Why is current the same in a series circuit?

So I am a 10th grade student and my teacher told me that the current is the same at every point in a series circuit. It does split up in parallel circuit but it then recombines and the current flowing ...
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5answers
3k views

Watts vs. volts amperes

What I understand: In simple DC circuits, this is a product of the current and voltage, such that 1 watt = 1 ampere x 1 volt I understand that a watt is a unit of power (change in energy per unit ...
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3answers
20k views

Do moving charged particles have both magnetic and electric fields?

Consider a charged particle (electron or proton) at rest. It is surrounded by its own electric field. Now consider an electron moving with certain velocity. Is there still an electric field around it?...
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8answers
4k views

Understanding voltage and power in the fluid analogy for DC circuits

I am trying to understand electric circuits (ie voltage, current, power, and resistance). For the most part, everything makes perfect sense, but for some reason I do not feel as if I understand the ...
12
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7answers
282k views

Why do bulbs glow brighter when connected in parallel?

Consider a circuit powered by a battery. If light bulbs are attached in parallel, the current will be divided across all of them. But if the light bulbs are connected in series, the current will be ...
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3answers
19k views

Where do electrons in electricity come from?

Where do the electrons come from when an electric generator is making electricity? Is from the air? Would a generator work in a vacuum? Electrons have mass so where would they be pulled from if ...
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5answers
2k views

Intuition behind Faraday's Law?

Faraday's Law seems more like an observation than an explanation. Sure, a changing magnetic current causes emf, but why? How does a changing magnetic field cause electrons to move in the direction of ...
12
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1answer
517 views

Supersymmetric Noether theorem and supercurrents — invariance requirements

Consider $\mathcal{N}=1,d=4$ SUSY with $n$ chiral superfields $\Phi^i,$ Kaehler potential $K,$ superpotential $W$ and action ($\overline{\Phi}_i$ is complex conjugate of $\Phi^i$) $$ S= \int d^4x \...
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7answers
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Difference between current and voltage sources

I am confused about the current and voltage. My intuitive example would be that of a pipe of say water. The diameter of the pipe determines the amount of water flowing per second but the pressure is ...
11
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6answers
7k views

Why does current density have a direction and not current?

Current is a scalar $I$ with units of $\mathrm{[J/s]}$. It is defined as $I=\frac{\mathrm{d}Q}{\mathrm{d}t}$. Current density is a vector $\vec{J}$ (with magnitude $J$) with units of $\mathrm{[J/s/m^2]...
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2answers
9k views

How electric currents can flow between 2 points at the same potential?

According to Ohm's law, if there is a potential difference, $V$, across a resistor then there is a current, $I$, flowing through it. Since we assume that points along the connecting wire are at the ...
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3answers
2k views

Is electric current relative?

Motion as we know is relative. According to this current which is the flow of charges should be also relative . That means that if someone is moving with the same velocity with repsect to the velocity ...
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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 ...
10
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3answers
4k views

How does electricity 'decide' on it's pathway? [duplicate]

I'm struggling to understand the fundamental concepts of electricity, more specifically, the way in which it 'chooses' its optimal pathway. I appreciate electricity will always choose the path of ...
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4answers
4k views

Derivation of Ohm's Law

Is it possible to derive Ohm's law (perhaps in some appropriate limit) from Maxwell's Equations?
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3answers
86k views

Current without Voltage and Voltage without Current?

At school I've always learned that you can view Current and Voltage like this: The current is the flow of charge per second and the Voltage is how badly the current 'wants' to flow. But I'm having ...