If you read the following carefully (maybe twice!), the fundamentals should hopefully make more sense:

**1. Electrons have momentum:**

Think of inductance as length (L).

Say a short wire and a long wire both carry 1A; Both have the same current (I), BUT the longer wire contains more electrons in motion.

It therefore has more electrical momentum. (Compare this with pipes carrying water.)

Electrical momentum is termed "magnetic flux" and is given the Greek symbol phi.

Since longer wires contain more electrons, the total momentum (phi) increases with length.

But a greater current also means more electrons, so momentum (phi) also increases with current.

Taken together, momentum (flux, phi) is proportional to L, and also to I.

So phi = LI. (The units are chosen such that the proportionality constant is 1.)

**2. Momentum accumulates over time:**

Now, to get a current flowing at all, we need to apply an electromotive force. This is the voltage (V).

Increasing this applied force/voltage will increase the momentum, but so will applying it for a longer period of time (t) because momentum accumulates.

Therefore we can also deduce that phi is proportional to V, and also to t.

So phi = Vt = LI

This is the textbook inductor equation, and is analogous to classical momentum:

Momentum = Ft = dm/t (since F=ma and a=d/t^2. Think of "mass per second" as the current.)

Inductors (as a component) are essentially a very long wire wound into a coil to make them more compact. (The coiling also increases the effective length due to magnetic effects, but that gets a lot more complex to explain.) Inductors allow you to build up momentum in the circuit, thereby storing the electrical equivalent of kinetic energy. If you suddenly break a circuit with lots of momentum in it, all that energy has to go somewhere. It'll either be converted into potential energy (i.e., a voltage), which is how a SMPS works*, or you can safely dissipate the energy as heat by adding a diode. That allows current to circulate back through the inductor until all the stored energy is used up.

* If you break the circuit on the high voltage side of an inductor, all the electrons flow away from the break resulting in a negative voltage spike. Break the circuit on the low side, and all the electrons pile up and cause a high voltage spike. How large these voltages get depends on many things, including the length of the coil. At it's simplest, that's its inductance (L).