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Homework Help: Energy loss in electricity

  1. Sep 24, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data


    I've always been told at school that conductors have resistance, and that resistance causes energy loss when current is flowing through the conductor, but I've never known the explanation behind that resistance.

    Reading a little bit online, I saw 2 explanations:

    1. The energy is lost due to friction (I'm not sure the friction of what, can you elaborate?)

    And the second one (which I understood more) was:

    2. Since the electrons are attracted to the nuclei, it will take energy to remove them from their orbit and give them velocity to move through the conductor, the energy used to do this is the energy loss.

    Which explanation is correct?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Yikes! Neither one is correct. Where did you find those?

    The conduction electrons are in the conduction band of the solid metal, and they are driven along by the electric field across the length of the conductor. Energy is lost as the electrons "collide" with the solid lattice of atoms (look up phonons). That is a simple explanation -- there are better, more accurate explanations. I'll see if I can find you a better reference...
  4. Sep 24, 2015 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

  5. Sep 25, 2015 #4
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