# 4.1 Current  (Page 2/8)

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Note that the direction of current flow in [link] is from positive to negative. The direction of conventional current is the direction that positive charge would flow . Depending on the situation, positive charges, negative charges, or both may move. In metal wires, for example, current is carried by electrons—that is, negative charges move. In ionic solutions, such as salt water, both positive and negative charges move. This is also true in nerve cells. A Van de Graaff generator used for nuclear research can produce a current of pure positive charges, such as protons. [link] illustrates the movement of charged particles that compose a current. The fact that conventional current is taken to be in the direction that positive charge would flow can be traced back to American politician and scientist Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s. He named the type of charge associated with electrons negative, long before they were known to carry current in so many situations. Franklin, in fact, was totally unaware of the small-scale structure of electricity.

It is important to realize that there is an electric field in conductors responsible for producing the current, as illustrated in [link] . Unlike static electricity, where a conductor in equilibrium cannot have an electric field in it, conductors carrying a current have an electric field and are not in static equilibrium. An electric field is needed to supply energy to move the charges.

## Making connections: take-home investigation—electric current illustration

Find a straw and little peas that can move freely in the straw. Place the straw flat on a table and fill the straw with peas. When you pop one pea in at one end, a different pea should pop out the other end. This demonstration is an analogy for an electric current. Identify what compares to the electrons and what compares to the supply of energy. What other analogies can you find for an electric current?

Note that the flow of peas is based on the peas physically bumping into each other; electrons flow due to mutually repulsive electrostatic forces.

## Calculating the number of electrons that move through a calculator

If the 0.300-mA current through the calculator mentioned in the [link] example is carried by electrons, how many electrons per second pass through it?

Strategy

The current calculated in the previous example was defined for the flow of positive charge. For electrons, the magnitude is the same, but the sign is opposite, ${I}_{\text{electrons}}=-0.300×{\text{10}}^{-3\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}}\text{C/s}$ .Since each electron $\left({e}^{-}\right)$ has a charge of $–1\text{.}\text{60}×{\text{10}}^{-\text{19}}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{C}$ , we can convert the current in coulombs per second to electrons per second.

Solution

Starting with the definition of current, we have

${I}_{\text{electrons}}=\frac{\text{Δ}{Q}_{\text{electrons}}}{\text{Δ}t}=\frac{–0\text{.}\text{300}×{\text{10}}^{-3}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{C}}{\text{s}}\text{.}$

We divide this by the charge per electron, so that

$\begin{array}{lll}\frac{{e}^{\text{–}}}{\text{s}}& =& \frac{–0\text{.}\text{300}×{\text{10}}^{–3}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{C}}{\text{s}}×\frac{\text{1}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}{e}^{\text{–}}}{–1\text{.60}×{\text{10}}^{-\text{19}}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{C}}\\ & =& \text{1.88}×{\text{10}}^{\text{15}}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\frac{{e}^{\text{–}}}{\text{s}}\text{.}\end{array}$

Discussion

There are so many charged particles moving, even in small currents, that individual charges are not noticed, just as individual water molecules are not noticed in water flow. Even more amazing is that they do not always keep moving forward like soldiers in a parade. Rather they are like a crowd of people with movement in different directions but a general trend to move forward. There are lots of collisions with atoms in the metal wire and, of course, with other electrons.

#### Questions & Answers

are nano particles real
yeah
Joseph
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
no can't
Lohitha
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
Ali
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
hey
Giriraj
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
Kamaluddeen
yes
narayan
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
Bhagvanji
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
what about nanotechnology for water purification
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
what is the stm
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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