Determining quantities as vectors or not

  • Thread starter MathewsMD
  • Start date
  • #1
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Why are some quantities vectors while others aren't? For example, we can calculate both current and current density, but why do we only consider current density to be a vector and current a scalar quantity? Is it a purely arbitrary convention or is it something more mathematically fundamental? I understand vectors like forces and displacement have directions and magnitudes associated with them, but I don't quite understand why we don't do the same thing for quantities like current? Is it to simplify equations only?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Current is a vector. The difference between current and current density is the dimensions of the vector. Current density is current per cross sectional area, or number of charges moving through a volume, while current is descriptive of charges moving along a line.
 

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