could anyone shed some light on the following... the language might not be too precise here, but i'm trying to get a feel for the subject in a battery one terminal (metal) has an excess on electrons which have come from the other +ve terminal (metal), this causes a difference in potential energy between the electrons in the two terminals i'm thinking in the -ve terminal the electrons are more concentrated and therefore there will be a large repulsive force between them relative to the other terminal this imbalance of electrons is maintained by the chemical reactions within the cell if a metal wire is connected between the two terminals the area of more concentrated electrons exerts a greater force than the area of less concentrated electrons on the electrons in the wire and so a flow of electrons occur due to the difference in force what's on my mind is the distrubution of electrons throughout the wire and terminals if the wire contains a bulb is the following scenario correct.. the electrons 'before' the bulb will have be equally concentrated throughout the terminal and wire and this concentration will be greater than the concentration in the wire and terminal on the other side of the bulb (where the electrons are also equally concentrated throughout the wire after the bulb and the +ve terminal) it is this difference in electron concentration which results in a force when moves the electrons through the bulb so do work and in the bulb filament is there essentially a gradient of electron concentration across both ends of the filament? I haven't been able to find any info on this i've focussed on electron concentration/distribution in my mind rather than potential since isn't it the distribution of electrons which results in the potential (difference)? if it is the case that a potential difference across a component occurs due to the difference in electron distribution across it then i have another question.... if there are two van der graff domes, one charged and one not with a certain PD between them and then another dome is attached to the charged one, i'm imagining that the electrons will distribute across attached dome (doing work at the time perhaps and heating) and therefore reducing the potential between the charged attached domes and the other non charged dome so if a wire is attached to one side of a cell and the pd is measured should that result in a drop in pd? my argument would be that the excess electron at the -ve terminal of the cell will distribute themselves throughout the terminal-metal wire system resulting in a lower concentration of electrons and therefore if there is less force between them the potential across the tip of the wire and the + terminal will drop? so would there be a very small current flow the moment a wire is attached to a cell at one end only and would the decrease of the electron distribution at the -ve terminal result in the 'chemical reaction' depositing more electrons at the metal terminal of the cell? but then these would have to come from the +ve metal terminal? would an very long wire indeed attached to one end of a cell result in a 'dead' cell? if you've managed to read through this and make sense of my questions/thoughts and could shed some light on the matter, i've very much appreciate a reply, it's on my mind at the moment! any relevant links etc.. also much appreciated. thanks, richard.