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why does electric current flows opposite to electrons?

why does electric current flows opposite to electrons?

Grade:

1 Answers

Ashwin Sinha
520 Points
10 years ago

Dear Sanjay,

This is because the conventional definition of a current flow is "the flow of POSITIVE charges" (from positive to negative terminal). However, positive charges in conductor do not move. It is only the electrons that are mobile. Hence the electrons will move towards the positive terminal, hence it is in the opposite direction of conventional current. 

When Benjamin Franklin was theorising about the nature of an electric current (long before the discovery of atoms), he thought that it was some sort of 'fluid' that flowed from an area of high pressure, which he labelled as 'positive', to an area of low pressure, which he labelled as 'negative'. 

Although we know that, in metal conductor at least, an electric current is a flow of negative charges (electrons) that flow from negative to positive, many (but by no means all) textbooks still use Franklin's current direction which is called 'Franklinian Flow' or, more commonly, 'Conventional Flow'. 

The reason for still using conventional flow seems rather odd, as there is no real advantage of continuing to do so.

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