1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is current flow not equal to electricity?

  1. Jul 17, 2011 #1
    Before i start my question , i have to mention that I'm only a beginner for physic and chemistry , if possible , please explain in the way that easier to be understand.

    In simple cell , 2 different metals are immersed in an electrolyte and connected to ammeter , the metal which is more electropositive will ionize and released electrons . The flow of electrons through wire is called electricity.

    Current flow is in the opposite direction with the electron flow. Therefore can I conclude that current flow is not equal to electricity?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2011 #2

    sophiecentaur

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hi
    The word "electricity' has no definite meaning. It's a generic term for that field of study and quantities.
    So you do not need to worry about what is or what isn't 'electricity', if you are trying to be precise. You just need to use the right terms at the right time.

    The direction that was chosen to define the flow of current was, perhaps, unfortunate for people starting off on the subject and they tend to thing "someone got it wrong". The fact is that it is irrelevant and the choice was made long before electrons had been observed. You can deal with pretty much the whole of 'electricity' without any reference to electrons at all. The only time they become relevant is when you are dealing with the details of how the charge may be flowing in any situation. In your example of current through an electrolyte, negative charges (electrons) are flowing from cathode to anode and positive charges (ions) are flowing the other way. In the case of a metal, the only actual moving charges are electrons because the positive ions are 'stuck' in the solid lattice and electrons are very free to move about from place to place. In a CRT, it is electrons that move about, of course.
    But, if you were to make a beam of protons (done frequently in accelerators) you would have a (conventional) current that is travelling in the same direction as the charge carriers.
    So neither choice would be right or wrong. One just has to live with the initial confusion and 'get over it' as lary kids say.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook