Author Topic: On the topic of batteries and electrons/protons  (Read 5795 times)

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Offline LukeW

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Re: On the topic of batteries and electrons/protons
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2015, 06:10:16 am »
You'll also be prepared for those situations when positive charge carriers are in fact physical, such as ionic conduction (in plasmas, ionic solutions and solids), hole conduction (semiconductors) and antiparticles (physics).

And conduction in a block of ice, interestingly, where protons are the majority carriers.

Offline Rick Law

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Re: On the topic of batteries and electrons/protons
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2015, 08:59:50 am »
Electricity is the movement of electrons through a conductor from one atom to the next. My confusion is when we talk about electricity I often hear people say for instance a battery's power flows from the positive terminal to the negative terminal, in loop/circuit. Even though electrons are negative so don't they move from negative electons black gnd wire to positive protons red wire? I know a battery is just a chemical factory with chemical reactions going on that produce electrical energy. Does the chemical reaction cause the electrons/black gnd wires to flow the electrons from the negative terminal into the circuits of a car and then into the positive/protons to repeat the cycle?  :wtf: I know I have something very wrong here and I am confused so much please share your knowledge!


If you understand the history, it may be easier to understand the inconsistency: when Electrical Current was discovered, scientist did not know about electrons yet.  So they got it wrong - like the Sun goes around the earth.

When electrons were discovered, scientist gave the charges of electrons and protons an arbitrary sign - which was all fine and good then.  But when they subsequently discovered and linked electron flow with current flow, well, it turned out it would have been more straight forward had the arbitrary choice of positive and negative been reversed.  Mathematically, it works just fine.  Negative number times negative number give you back a positive.  It does confuse people however that current flow is merely electrons flowing in the reverse direction.

Similar things occurs in science all the time.  Electrons, protons and other "elementary particles" are made with Quarks.  Electrical charge is already defined, so that property label must be use except it is an odd 1/3 electron-charge.  Other properties not known before were given arbitrary labels - Red or Green or other colors, up or down...  Perhaps some day, as more is known, other inconvenient things may be pop up such as "had we call the Up quark a Down quark, this newly discovered phenomenon may have been easier to understand..."

If you think reversing the sign is bad...The worst such "crime" is calories.  Eons ago, physicist defined a way to measure heat/energy: a calorie as the amount of heat needed to raise 1gm of water 1 degree centigrade.  Well, perhaps the food people didn't learn the physics right, they begin using calories as 1kg of water 1 degree centigrade...  So, we have:
1 Calorie=1000 calorie
(food calories with upper case C) is 1000 calorie (physics calories, lower case c) .

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