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Homework Help: Series circuit

  1. Oct 17, 2005 #1
    Hey i have a little question to ask.... when a series circuit is broken (disconnected) at the negative terminal of the ammeter , does the charge flow around the circuit until it gets to the end of the line at the ammeter and then stop ? or does it stop at the moment when it's broken?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2005 #2

    Tide

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    The short answer is "yes, the current stops immediately!"

    However, if you want to get into "overanalysis" mode then there is a little more to the story.

    a) It takes a finite time for electrons in the circuit to "know" that there is no longer a potential difference. That information propagates at the speed of light and, typically, the time for the information to arrive is VERY small.

    b) Once electrons are no longer subject to an accelerating potential, they are stopped, again almost immediately, because they collide with ions and give up their kinetic energy.

    c) Even in the case of very low resistivity, any charge buildup will promptly be halted so that the conductor will become an equipotential.
     
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