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Homework Help: Electric field around a current carrying wire.

  1. Nov 30, 2013 #1
    Does a current carrying wire create an electric field in it's vicinity?

    I believe that there is no electric field created around the wire(ideal situation). That's because the current carrying wire is neutral. You can imagine electrons moving in a specific direction under the influence of the electric field(within the wire only) created by the voltage source and an equal number of +ive ions moving in the opposite direction. For a uniform wire where n(number of charge carriers per unit volume) is constant, the current carrying wire is always neutral. That's because in any volume irrespective of it's dimensions, number electrons is equal to the number of protons. They are moving in opposite directions but if you take a picture of the interior, you'll see that it holds. However, in reality, this might not hold because n might not be constant. The conductors used to make the wires are very close to the ideal state(approximate).

    I also believe that we as a conductor get a shock on holding a current carrying wire not because it is charged, but due to a potential difference between the wire(high potential) and us(zero potential) which causes the electrons to move into our body and into the ground. So, there is a continuous flow of charges within our body which constitutes current.

    Are there any cases wherein the current carrying wire is electrically charged?

    I just want to be clear with this concept.
  2. jcsd
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