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Do electrons move in an electric field or in a conductor?

  1. Jan 8, 2015 #1
    Is this correct?

    “The force that gets the electrons moving is the electric field. In AC, it is actually an electromagnetic wave travelling along the wire. Note that the electrons not only react to the electromagnetic field, but also are sources; the oscillating electrons themselves emit electromagnetic waves which in part cause an effective slowdown of the travelling wave, and in part just get emitted from the wire (the wire effectively acts as antenna).”

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2015 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    Gold Member

    Yes, electrons move in a conductor. Electron drift rate will soon be an exercise in your basic physics class.
  4. Jan 8, 2015 #3
    Well yes but really it is charge that is being drifted by a voltage. There are 2 types of electricity:the charge moving along a wire and the electromagnetic wave surrounding that charge as it moves along the wire.
  5. Jan 8, 2015 #4


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    google electron drift --- the electrons really do just drift

    2 types ... not in the way you are suggesting
    Also the EM wave travels along the outside of the conductor .... The conductor only acts as a waveguide
    This becomes apparent when with a insulated conductor, where a decrease in the speed of the EM wave is observed
    and as a result insulated conductors have an associated velocity factor which is primarily governed by the type and thickness of the insulation

  6. Jan 8, 2015 #5
    the resistance is impacted by the dimensions of the wire itself, of course it flows on the outside! why would electromagnetic waves be able to penetrate a conductor, that is how radio interference is prevented....
  7. Jan 9, 2015 #6
    Thank You
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