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Does the Drude model predict the emission of em waves?

  1. Feb 20, 2014 #1
    The Drude model of electrical conduction has the charge carriers being accelerated by an electric field and then interacting with the lattice ions. The cycle is then repeated.
    An unbound charged particle if accelerated emits electromagnetic waves.
    Does that mean that a prediction of the Drude model is that when a "steady" current flows in a circuit electromagnetic waves will be emitted and does that happen in practice?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2014 #2

    Philip Wood

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    Gold Member

    Something to bear in mind is that the drift velocity is superimposed on a far larger random velocity. The acceleration of free electrons when they hit ions (in a Drude type model) will be present whether or not a current is flowing. Presumably there should be bremsstrahlung; I can only assume the energy radiated is insignificant because the accelerations aren't large enough; the thermal speeds of electrons at room temperature are in the order of 105 m s-1 whereas 100 keV electrons in an X-ray machine have speeds of greater than 108 m s-1.
  4. Feb 20, 2014 #3


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    The drude model itself doesn't predict the emission of EM waves, it's just trying to explain electric current. But the more general rules of electromagnetism do.
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