Problem Set 28.1-2 - PROBLEM SET 28.1-2 "Introduction...

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PROBLEM SET 28.1-2 “Introduction to Electric Current” Electric current is defined as the motion of electric charge through a conductor. Conductors are materials that contain movable charged particles. In metals, the most commonly used conductors, such charged particles are electrons. The more electrons that pass through a cross section of a conductor per second, the greater the current. The conventional definition of current is I = Q total t , where I is the current in a conductor and Q total is the total charge passing through a cross section of the conductor during the time interval t . The motion of free electrons in metals not subjected to an electric field is random: Even though the electrons move fairly rapidly, the net result of such motion is that Q total = 0 (i.e., equal numbers of electrons pass through the cross section in opposite directions). However, when an electric field is imposed, the electrons continue in their random motion, but in addition, they tend to move in the direction of the force applied by the electric field. In summary, the two conditions for electric current in a material are the presence of movable charged particles in the material and the presence of an electric field. Quantitatively, the motion of electrons under the influence of an electric field is described by the drift speed, which tends to be much smaller than the speed of the random motion of the electrons. The number of electrons passing through a cross section of a conductor depends on the drift speed (which, in turn, is determined by both the
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This note was uploaded on 08/12/2009 for the course PHY 122 taught by Professor L.rose during the Fall '07 term at New Mexico Junior College.

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Problem Set 28.1-2 - PROBLEM SET 28.1-2 "Introduction...

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