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Homework Help: Electron flow and work

  1. Jan 2, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Sorry if this is not a good fit for this sub-forum but i couldn't find anywhere else to post it. In the physics tutorial
    http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/circuits/topic on current electricty it defines the positive terminal as the high potential terminal and the negative as the low potential. When talking about positive test charges this analogy makes sense, the charge moves from the +ve to the -ve where it loses potential till it has to be "topped" up by the cell.

    What confuses me when they begin talking electrons. Using this analogy would mean that the electrons move from the -ve to the +ve but this means work would have to be used to move against the electric field so the potential energy increases till it reaches +ve terminal.

    My question is how does this analogy,if it does, change to accommodate electrons? Does the electric field reverse so the -ve terminal is the high potential and the +ve the low potential?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2014 #2
    Electrons moving from -ve to +ve are not moving against the field. They are negatively charged and so are moving with the field.
  4. Jan 2, 2014 #3
    I thought the electric field was from the +ve to the -ve
  5. Jan 2, 2014 #4
    It is.
  6. Jan 2, 2014 #5
    Im sorry if iv'e misunderstood. Are you saying that work is not used to move electrons from the negative terminal to the positive terminal when the electric field is acting from the positive terminal to the negative terminal?
  7. Jan 2, 2014 #6
    Electrons are negatively charged and so move against electric field lines naturally. It's the opposite of the positive test charge.
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