potential difference Difference in the electrical potential (see potential, electric) of two points, being equal to the electrical

energy gained by a unit positive electric charge moving from one point to the other. Electrons (which are negatively charged) flow in a conducting material towards the part that is relatively more positive (fewer negative charges). The SI unit of potential difference is the volt (V). The potential difference between two points in a circuit is commonly referred to as voltage (and can be measured with a voltmeter). See also Ohm's law. One joule of energy is gained by each coulomb of charge when moved through a potential difference of one volt. Potential difference V may be represented by the equation V = E/Q, where E is the electrical energy converted in joules and Q is the charge in coulombs. Chemical energy from a battery is converted to electrical energy in a circuit, this energy being given by rearranging the above formula: E = Q × V.

it is instead carried by ions. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. a beam of ions or electrons may be formed. which exist in both positive and negative varieties. (February 2011) In metallic solids. Given a surface through which a metal wire passes. In a semiconductor it is sometimes useful to think of the current as due to the flow of positive "holes" (the mobile positive charge carriers that are places where the semiconductor crystal is missing a valence electron). So in metals where the charge carriers (electrons) are negative.4 Vacuum ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ 2 Current density and Ohm's law 3 Drift speed 4 Electromagnetism 5 Conventions ± 5. the electric currents in electrolytes are flows of electrically charged atoms (ions). and. the number of electrons moving from one side to the other in any period of time is on average equal to the number passing in the opposite direction. in a plasma. In a vacuum. In still others.‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Electric current From Wikipedia. conventional current flows in the same direction as the charge carriers. a flow of electric charge (a phenomenon) or the rate of flow of electric charge (a quantity). Electric current is measured using an ammeter.3 Gases and plasmas 1. these electrons move about randomly due to thermal energy but. To provide a definition of current that is independent of the type of charge carriers flowing. conventional current flows in the opposite direction as the electrons. For example. originating in the conduction electrons. the electric current is due to the flow of both positively and negatively charged particles at the same time. depending on the context. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. conventional current is defined to flow in the same direction as positive charges. Metals A solid conductive metal contains mobile. the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation.[1] This flowing electric charge is typically carried by moving electrons.1 Reference direction ‡ ‡ ‡ 6 Occurrences 7 Current Measurement 8 See also 9 References 10 External links Conduction mechanisms in various media This section does not cite any references or sources. This is the case in a p-type semiconductor. the electric current is entirely composed of flowing ions. any stream of charged objects may constitute an electric current. . electric currents are composed of positive hydrogen ions (protons) flowing in one direction. In conductors where the charge carriers are positive. in an electrolyte.[1] Contents [hide] 1 Conduction mechanisms in various media ± ± ± ± 1. the current is entirely due to positive charge flow. Even with no external electric field applied. In other conductive materials.1 Metals 1.[2] The SI unit for measuring the rate of flow of electric charge is the ampere. by both. Electric currents in sparks or plasma are flows of electrons as well as positive and negative ions. In ice and in certain solid electrolytes. search Electromagnetism Electricity · Magnetism Electrostatics Electric charge · Coulomb's law · Electric field · Electric flux · Gauss's law · Electric potential · Electrostatic induction · Electric dipole moment · Polarization density Magnetostatics Ampère's law · Electric current · Magnetic field · Magnetization · Magnetic flux · Biot Savart law · Magnetic dipole moment · Gauss's law for magnetism Electrodynamics Lorentz force law · emf · Electromagnetic induction · Faraday s law · Lenz's law · Displacement current · Maxwell's equations · EM field · Electromagnetic radiation · Liénard Wiechert potential · Maxwell tensor · Eddy current Electrical Network Electrical conduction · Electrical resistance · Capacitance · Inductance · Impedance · Resonant cavities · Waveguides Covariant formulation Electromagnetic tensor · EM Stress-energy tensor · Four-current · Electromagnetic four-potential Scientists Ampère · Coulomb · Faraday · Gauss · Heaviside · Henry · Hertz · Lorentz · Maxwell · Tesla · Volta · Weber · Ørsted v · d · e Electric current means.2 Electrolytes 1. These electrons are bound to the metal lattice but no longer to any individual atom. which is charge flowing through some surface at the rate of one coulomb per second. or free electrons. and negative sulfate ions flowing in the other. from lower to higher electrical potential. In a common lead-acid electrochemical cell. In other media. on average. in a conductor such as wire. there is zero net current within the metal. electricity flows by means of electrons.