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Electric current misconception

  1. Nov 1, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone,
    I have a problem which is a conceptual misunderstanding concerning electric current.
    I understand that different charges attract and like charges repell, I want to know what really happens inside the wire so a lamp lights immediately when we press on the light button.
    an electron takes much time to travel short distances "drift velocity" so it's not the same electron that lights the lamp and come back immediately " as I learnt in middle school". I now think of it like there is some force that causes all the electrons or at least 1 electron from each atom to move. Is it right ? what exactly is that force and what caused it ?
    Hint: I have no idea what an electric field is
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2015 #2
    It's okay to provide me with a good detailed source to understand the whole thing, would you recommend anything ?
  4. Nov 1, 2015 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    The force is called the Lorentz force and is given by ##F=q(E+v \times B)##

  5. Nov 1, 2015 #4
    so this lorentz force affects all the electrons in the wire setting them in motion ??
  6. Nov 1, 2015 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    It affects all of the electrons and all of the protons also. However most protons and electrons are subject to pretty strong additional forces. So only the valence electrons move much in a typical metal.
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