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Simultaneously Opposing Currents that Sum

June 7th Fact-of-the-Day

Electrical conduction can occur only if charged particles are available to move through a conducting circuit. The particles can have either positive or negative charges even though current flow due negative electron movement gets the most attention. The kind and number of charged particles depend on whether a conductor is a gas, liquid or solid. Where a conductor is gas, some of the normal gas atoms are ionized by the electric field which strips one or more electrons from their outer orbits. Freed electrons are attracted toward the positive end of a gas conductor at relatively high speed. Atoms that have lost electrons are left positively charged and are therefore attracted toward the negative end of a gas conductor, but at a much slower speed, because of their vastly greater masses. Therefore where a conductor is a gas, two currents flow in opposite directions simultaneously and, though one current is much larger than the other, the total current is equal to their sum. ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.

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