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Electron Velocity in Volts

October 19th Fact-of-the-Day

Beginning electronics students often are puzzled when they find the velocity of electrons expressed in volts rather than in some common unit of speed measure, such as kilometers-per-second. When voltage is used to express the speed of an electron, the velocity is the velocity an electron would acquire upon being accelerated through the stated voltage. For example, if it is stated that an electron has a velocity of 100 volts, it is meant that the electron is moving at the speed an electron would have after being accelerated through a potential difference of 100 volts. Scientists and engineers may complain that that statement is not precisely true dimensionally because voltage to the first power is proportional to energy. However, it is close enough to true for most practical purposes, especially at a first level of understanding. ©2004 Martek International All rights reserved.

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