Hi all, I still can't fully understand why electrons only drift in a copper wire DC circuit. The basic explanation I've been given is that electromagnetic waves carry the energy and move at roughly half the speed of light in copper, while individual electrons only drift along as the medium. My question becomes, how frequent are the electromagnetic waves? Why don't they have a frequency equal to about half the speed of light in copper, thereby causing the electrons to move just as rapidly. What scale even measures electromagnetic wave frequency in copper wire? If your response is conjecture, please state as much. Thank you! Here's some of what I've read, followed by some other specific points at which I'm confused: 1) The idea of current moving from positive to negative is an old convention which does not in any way correspond to what actually happens in an average copper wire DC circuit. Current actually moves from negative to positive in these circuits. The convention was setup by Ben Franklin and was kept because it was too much trouble to change years worth of formulas. I'm fine with this, but felt it important to mention because many explanations of energy transfer in DC circuits state that energy moves from positive to negative. 2) A DC power source forces electrons to "jump" from the source into the negative end of a copper wire in a closed circuit, while simultaneously "pulling" electrons out of the positive end of the circuit. Is this correct? Or does the source only "push" from the negative end and "catch" at the positive end? If it is correct, it sure messes up the analogy of a row of pool balls being hit at one end. It also adds confusion to the next few entries. 3) Copper wire is full of loose electrons (about one loose electron per atom), typically called the "charge sea", so when a circuit is first completed, the first group of electrons to "jump" from the DC source into the negative end of the circuit cause an electron group wave to begin propagating down the wire at about half the speed of light. As this electron group wave propagates, an interdependent electromagnetic wave is forming around the wire, causing the trailing electrons to "line up" instead of flitting about randomly. The electromagnetic wave exists because of the electron group wave, and at the same time it causes the electron group wave. (brain bender, but I can understand the interdependence). This is where my confusion sets in. What is the interval of time between the first electromagnetic wave (and corresponding electron group wave) and the second one? Or "how far apart are the electromagnetic waves in a DC circuit?" I thought DC was by definition 0hz, but I think this must be a different scale we're talking about. One that measures electromagnetic wavelengths in wire versus voltage/current amplitude oscillations. Also, if a DC source both "pushes" and "pulls", then what happens when we first power up a circuit? Is an electromagnetic wave propagating from positive to negative while another wave is propagating from negative to positive? Do the two meet half-way? And finally, when everyone says "energy is carried in a wire by the electromagnetic wave" aren't we splitting hairs if that wave is interdependent on an electron group wave? Couldn't we just as easily say the increasing density of electrons in the propagating electron group wave is what delivers the energy to the load? Does anyone know whether the density of an electron group wave decreases after it passes through a load? Surely the strength of an electromagnetic wave must decrease after it passes through a load. Some joules must be removed and converted into heat or kinetic motion. Thanks in advance. Mark Edit: I found a website which suggests the frequency of electromagnetic waves in an AC circuit is the same as the frequency of the electric current. This would imply that every 1/60th of a second a new electromagnetic wave-peak and a corresponding electron group wave form around / enter into the wire at a power station, and then travel along the wire at about half the speed of light (for copper). The electrons would therefore only be forced to make their tiny "jump" to the next incremental position along the wire every 1/60th of a second, and they would not necessarily move in a clean, orderly fashion due to collisions, lattice impurities, etc, further slowing their forward progress. Can anyone confirm these ideas or relate them to my above questions? http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Electromagnetic-waves When any wire (or other conducting object such as an antenna) conducts alternating current, electromagnetic radiation is propagated at the same frequency as the electric current. When EM radiation impinges upon a conductor, it couples to the conductor, travels along it, and induces an electric current on the surface of that conductor.