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Are the electron flow in a conductor and ion flow in electrolyte same?

  1. May 15, 2014 #1
    A current flow occurs when there is movement of electron in a conductor. But in a electrolyte its the ions that move and we still say there is current flow.

    Are the electron flow in a conductor and ion flow in a electrolyte is the same?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2014 #2


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    You could include a bath of electrolyte in a circuit and measure electric current in the wires - and that current would have to be flowing through the bath. Clearly, at the wire / electrode connection, there must be the same number of charges join in and out (Kirchoff's First Law)
    In electrical theory we just use the word Current to describe the effect of Charge flow. A positive charge flowing in one direction is indistinguishable from a negative charge flowing in the other direction - in most respects. If you are talking about electrolysis, of course, the result may be different.

    Many people winge and say that 'they got it wrong about the direction of current'. The very fact that we get along fine with negative electrons and the conventional direction of current can reassure you that there is no problem and no 'paradox', 'disagreement', 'cockup'. Forget about electron flow when you are dealing with circuits and you will not go wrong. Try to accommodate the electron flow and conventional current within the same argument and you are bound to fall flat on your face one day! Particles don't always help us in Science.
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