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Author Topic: is there any matter in an electric current?  (Read 2029 times)

Harold Pettus

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is there any matter in an electric current?
« on: 01/10/2010 17:30:02 »
Harold Pettus asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Is there any matter in an electric current?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 01/10/2010 17:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline Geezer

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is there any matter in an electric current?
« Reply #1 on: 01/10/2010 17:44:16 »
Electric current is composed of migrating electrons, and electrons do have mass, so it seems that there is matter in an electric current.
 

Offline syhprum

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is there any matter in an electric current?
« Reply #2 on: 01/10/2010 19:12:26 »
Yes matter is transported by the flow of an electric current hence electroplating and the early definition of the Coulomb
 

Offline thedoc

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is there any matter in an electric current?
« Reply #3 on: 10/12/2010 15:30:59 »
We discussed this question on our  show
There is matter flowing. An electric current is a movement of electrons which are tiny particles. They're very, very light compared to nuclei of atoms, so they're about 2/1000ths of the mass. But they still do have mass. They are matter and they're moving around.
 What happens in electric current is, essentially, you've got a conductor where these electrons can move quite easily. You shove some electrons in, extra electrons in one end using a battery or a generator or something. Electrons repel one another so that extra density causes all the other electrons to move away a bit. And so, you get this sort of wave, essentially, you can think of it as a wave of movement, going all the way through to the other end of the conductor.
This wave of movement moves very close at the speed of light, maybe 0.8 of the speed of light, but the actual electrons themselves are only moving at millimetres a second. So, the actual movement of electrons is very, very slow, but there is a movement.
The actual signal moves very quickly because it’s a bit like a Newton’s cradle where you hit a ball on one end, and then all the other balls transfer that impact all the way along, until the one on the other end flies away far quicker than any of the balls themselves are moving.
Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, listen to the answer now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 01/01/1970 01:00:00 by _system »
 

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is there any matter in an electric current?
« Reply #3 on: 10/12/2010 15:30:59 »

 

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