What type of charge moves through conductors? Explain how it moves.


Electrons are the current carriers in metals. Electrons have a negative charge. Electrons in metals are loosly bound to atoms, so an external electric field will cause them in their random movements to drift in the direction of the Electric field.

To understand how charge moves through conductors, we need to consider the behavior of electrons in conductive materials. In conductors, such as metals, electrons are the primary carriers of electric charge.

Atoms in a conductor have loosely bound electrons in their outermost shells. These electrons are not strongly tied to any specific atom and are free to move within the material. When an external electric field is applied to a conductor, it creates a force on these free electrons, causing them to drift in a particular direction. This drift constitutes the flow of electric charge, also known as an electric current.

The movement of electrons in a conductor can be explained by the concept of electron drift. Initially, the electrons are in a state of random motion within the material due to thermal energy. However, when an electric field is applied, the force on the electrons causes them to drift in the direction opposite to the field.

This drift motion occurs because electrons at one end of the conductor experience a repulsive force from the negatively charged side of the electric field. As a result, these electrons are pushed away from the source of the electric field. Simultaneously, electrons on the opposite end of the conductor are attracted towards the positively charged side of the electric field.

The combination of repulsion and attraction of electrons results in a net movement of charge through the conductor. It is important to note that the actual motion of electrons is relatively slow, with an average distance of only a few millimeters per second. However, the effects propagate rapidly through the conductor, resulting in the movement of charge at a much higher speed, typically referred to as the drift velocity.

In summary, charge moves through conductors, such as metals, in the form of electrons. Under the influence of an external electric field, the free electrons in the conductor experience a force that causes them to drift in a specific direction, leading to the flow of electric current.