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Positive and neagtive charge carriers current

  1. Dec 22, 2011 #1
    What would happen hypothetically if there was a positive charged particle the same size as an electron (that wasn't antimatter), that carried current in the opposite direction in a wire to a normal conventional current in another wire? According to the Lorentz force they would attract so again could these wires carry current in the opposite direction and alternate so both ends of the wire would be receiving current at exactly the same time? Wouldn't this mean that it would be more efficient than normal current?

    Could charge ever be artificially induced in a material at a particle level giving a neutron a positive charge or an electron a positive one?
     
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  3. Dec 22, 2011 #2

    Dale

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    This happens all the time in plasmas and electrolytes (except for the "same size" bit). In each case there are both positive and negative charge carriers at the same time. So typically a current in a plasma or an electrolyte will consist of motion of both types of charge carriers in opposite directions.
     
  4. Dec 23, 2011 #3
    I've heard there are things called thyratron's as well and that they can handle much greater currents than similar hard vacuum valves/tubes since the positive ions carry considerable current.

    So the other thing I'm asking is could we ever change a particles charge somehow or is this impossible?
     
  5. Dec 23, 2011 #4

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    A particle's charge is part of what defines the particle. E.g. the negative charge is part of the definition of an electron. So, if you changed its charge to positive then it would no longer be an electron.

    Also, charge is conserved. So if you changed one particle from positive to negative then you would have to simultaneously change another from negative to positive.
     
  6. Dec 23, 2011 #5
  7. Dec 23, 2011 #6

    sophiecentaur

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  8. Dec 23, 2011 #7

    Drakkith

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    I don't believe so, and it would probably be hell on certain electronic components that depend on a one-way flow of current such as a diode. It would take energy to move these particles, so I would guess you would get half the current as normal moving in each direction using the same amount of power.
     
  9. Dec 23, 2011 #8

    sophiecentaur

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    The definition of current pays no heed to the direction of the actual charge carriers. After all, it was a long time before they realised that the direction flow of the carriers was the opposite to the flow of the conventional current. This is all a bit bogus, I think.
     
  10. Dec 24, 2011 #9
    Thanks for the replies everyone. What sort of currents are there in plasmas could you tell me more about them?
     
  11. Dec 24, 2011 #10

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know exactly what you mean by "sorts" of currents, but in a hydrogen plasma like the sun you basically have protons and electrons as free charge carriers. So any e-field will send electrons one way and protons the other making a total current density which is the sum of the current densities of the protons and electrons separately.
     
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