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Old 05-25-2009, 08:12 PM   #1
Clair de Lune
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

I don't think it's as fast as light right?

If there is a 100 mile long metal rod and I charge the one end, how long will it take til the party on the opposite end feel it?

How about a glass tube filled with water?

I assume the speed of conductivity depends on the material.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:15 PM   #2
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_electricity
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:15 PM   #3
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Clair de Lune
I don't think it's as fast as light right?

If there is a 100 mile long metal rod and I charge the one end, how long will it take til the party on the opposite end feel it?

How about a glass tube filled with water?

I assume the speed of conductivity depends on the material.
Google is helpful
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

It depends.

Same as the speed of light though fiber optic cabling - it depends.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:22 PM   #5
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

"Free electrons in a copper wire move to random directions with the speed of 1.3e6m/s even in the case of no electric current, which means it is not in electric field. This velocity is called "Fermi velocity" and it exists even under 0 absolute temperature. It is not heat energy and originated from indefinite theory of quantum mechanics. Since electric current is average flow of free electrons, in other word "drift velocity", electric current doesn't exist under this circumstance.

When voltage is put on both sides of a conductor, free electrons increase the speed in proportion to the electric field and by lattice oscillation, lattice defect, and collision with impurities, they will be scattered to different directions from the electric field and lose the speed to the direction of the electric field. Therefore it doesn't increase the speed infinitely and it will keep certain average velocity. That means collision functions as a kind of friction.

As for copper, the time interval between collisions is 5.26e-45 seconds and average drift velocity is,

4.62e-3 (m/s) / (v/m).

It means that when 1V voltage is put on both ends of 1m long copper wire, the velocity of free electrons to length direction is 4.62 mm/s. It seems amazingly slow but since electric charge of electrons is -1.6e-19c, 12.6A electric current flows in the 0.5mm copper wire with this speed. You see how large the number of free electrons is."

http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/t.../Mysteryofelectric.htm
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:22 PM   #6
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Depending on the medium, some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:23 PM   #7
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: tasmanian
Depending on the medium, some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s.
Depending on my energy, I move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:24 PM   #8
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Crono
Quote:
Originally posted by: tasmanian
Depending on the medium, some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s.
Depending on my energy, I move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s
Depending on what I had for dinner, I too move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s .
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:40 PM   #9
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: heymrdj
Quote:
Originally posted by: Crono
Quote:
Originally posted by: tasmanian
Depending on the medium, some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s.
Depending on my energy, I move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s
Depending on what I had for dinner, I too move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s .
Depending on what my roommate had for dinner, i too move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:48 PM   #10
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: heymrdj
Quote:
Originally posted by: Crono
Quote:
Originally posted by: tasmanian
Depending on the medium, some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s.
Depending on my energy, I move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s
Depending on what I had for dinner, I too move at some percentage of 299,792,458 m/s .
Text



(Not mine, like many things, it's just something I found somewhere.)

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Old 05-25-2009, 08:54 PM   #11
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Fast.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:03 PM   #12
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

The speed of light.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:05 PM   #13
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: edro
The speed of light.
No.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:05 PM   #14
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Instantaneous. Think of a a cylinder packed with BBs. Now if you shove a BB in at one end, at the other end, a BB pops out at the other end.
No.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:06 PM   #15
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Instantaneous. Think of a a cylinder packed with BBs. Now if you shove a BB in at one end, at the other end, a BB pops out at the other end.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:07 PM   #16
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

As some have already pointed out, the answer to your question is however long it takes light (electromagnetic waves) to travel through the medium in question. In unshielded copper, that's .96c, so the voltage will propagate to the other end in about 559 microseconds. Some people have mentioned the speed of electron flow, which is actually quite slow, but what you asked about is voltage (EM field), which does propagate at lightspeed.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:11 PM   #17
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Instantaneous. Think of a a cylinder packed with BBs. Now if you shove a BB in at one end, at the other end, a BB pops out at the other end.
Congratulations, you have invented time travel.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:20 PM   #18
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Pheran
Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Instantaneous. Think of a a cylinder packed with BBs. Now if you shove a BB in at one end, at the other end, a BB pops out at the other end.
Congratulations, you have invented time travel.
I'm still LOLing at the comment.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:36 PM   #19
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: RESmonkey
Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Instantaneous. Think of a a cylinder packed with BBs. Now if you shove a BB in at one end, at the other end, a BB pops out at the other end.
No.
speed of electricity != speed of electron
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:42 PM   #20
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Cheaters. Let him do his own homework. :laugh:
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:04 PM   #21
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Quote:
Originally posted by: RESmonkey
Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Instantaneous. Think of a a cylinder packed with BBs. Now if you shove a BB in at one end, at the other end, a BB pops out at the other end.
No.
speed of electricity != speed of electron
Why, when i thought of his analogy, did i think of an enema o.O.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:17 PM   #22
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Quote:
Originally posted by: RESmonkey
Quote:
Originally posted by: her209
Instantaneous. Think of a a cylinder packed with BBs. Now if you shove a BB in at one end, at the other end, a BB pops out at the other end.
No.
speed of electricity != speed of electron
I fail to see the relevance of this post. Are you saying electricity is instantaneous? Because it isn't.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:38 PM   #23
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Electricity travels near the speed of light. The electron mobility is much much slower.
Her209's thinking isn't entirely off. It's not instantaneous, but when that first electron goes into the wire, the first electron at the other end pops off at something close to the speed of light, but it will be quite some time before the electron that started it all reaches the other side.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:54 PM   #24
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: RESmonkey


I fail to see the relevance of this post. Are you saying electricity is instantaneous? Because it isn't.
It depends on your school of thought. Our measured understanding of this force is just that - measured. Faster then light state changes have been observed. You idea of instantaneous electricity is not that far fetched. But with our current misunderstanding then it isn't.

We can't even understand gravity.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:55 PM   #25
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Default How fast does electricity travel?

Quote:
Originally posted by: oldsmoboat
Cheaters. Let him do his own homework. :laugh:
oh, that too. Nice catch.
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