Electric Circuits - Mission EC1 Detailed Help

Approximately how long would it take an electron to travel from the battery of a car to a head light and back (complete loop)?

Drift Speed Versus Current:
Current is the rate at which charge flows through a circuit. Current has to do with the number of coulombs of charge that pass a point in the circuit per unit of time. Drift speed refers to the average distance traveled by a charge carrier per unit of time. Like the speed of any object, the drift speed of an electron moving through a wire is the distance to time ratio. A typical drift speed is abnormally slow - on the order of a meter per hour.

Many students are under the impression that charge must move very fast through an electric circuit. After all, as soon as a switch is flipped on the car lights, the lights are on. But don't be fooled! The charge carriers that move through the light to immediately light the light were there already. They did not have to migrate rapidly from the battery to the lights to instantly light the light. Rather, as soon as the switch was closed, charge everywhere within the circuit begins to flow. The charge carriers that were in or near the light will instantly light the light.


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