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Electron dispersion in a conductor

  1. Apr 12, 2010 #1

    taylaron

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    I'm curious why electrons will travel near the perimeter of a large wire as opposed to using the whole cross section. I understand that electrons flowing through the wire repel each other and thus want to be as far apart as possible. Yes, but from this electrons should not just occupy the perimeter of the wire, but be evenly spaced out inside the conductor.

    If I had a cube of copper or silver 2 feet wide and attach it to the negative terminal of a Van De Graff generator, would the electrons evenly disperse themselves throughout the material, or would they accumulate near the sides? Why?

    With basic electron repulsion, I do not understand how this report can be true.

    Regards,

    -Tay
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2010 #2

    sophiecentaur

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    The skin effect only occurs for alternating current. The current is uniform over the whole cross section for DC.

    Remember there are many electrons inside a conductor. The effect of any external E field (or any change in the current flowing through) is only to produce a very small average displacement of a huge number of individual electrons. The forces of mutual repulsion (and attraction to the fixed positive ions) limit the amount of displacement to the point where a balance is reached.
     
  4. Apr 12, 2010 #3

    taylaron

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    That you very much, but let me clarify something.
    A conductive block made of carbon (or any other material for that matter) would 'fill' with electrons only to the extent of occupying all the valence electrons of each atom, correct?

    Regards,
    -Tay
     
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