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antique electrons

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Dan Jacobson, Apr 26, 2004.

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  1. Dan Jacobson

    Dan Jacobson Guest

    If I connect an old silver dollar into a circuit, will I be
    "exchanging electrons, many of which haven't left it since 1823"?
    Hmm, if I usually kept it in a plastic mount, then I guess yes.
    Hmmm, of course, OK, never mind.

    Say, what is the electrical equivalent to putting some dye in water as
    it flows thru a pipe? Water is the electrons, the pipe is the wire.
     
  2. Garrett Mace

    Garrett Mace Guest

    Say, what is the electrical equivalent to putting some dye in water as

    Not really surprisingly, there is a difference. Water can flow through a
    pipe, dye can flow through a pipe: water can carry dye through a pipe. The
    water itself is not being changed, it's just taking dye along for the ride.

    Only electrons flow through a wire. They can't carry anything along with
    them, at the same speed, to identify a particular group of electrons as they
    pass through the wire. They also can't be modified or tagged for
    identification purposes.
     
  3. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    what is the electrical equivalent to putting some dye in water as
    Modulating the electrical level with "information"
    could be said to be similar to a dye "tracer".
     
  4. Garrett Mace

    Garrett Mace Guest

    No, though electricity travels quickly through a wire, the electrons
    themselves are moving very slowly through the wire. How fast depends on the
    current level, but it's usually around a hundredth of a millimeter per
    second. This isn't the actual speed of the electrons, this is the average
    drift down the wire as they bounce around the atoms within the wire.

    The original poster was wondering if there was a way to track specific
    groups of electrons as they pass through a wire. Encoding information as
    electricity only modifies the flow of electricity, not the medium or
    carriers. It would be like conveying information through a water pipe by
    varying the pressure, and not paying attention to any dye in the flow.
     
  5. And since water is not compressible, the pressure would be transmitted
    from one end of a long pipe to the other instantly. indicating the
    'signal', but no flow would have occurred.

    Seems to me that what he wants is something like an electrophoresis
    system, where the ions would travel along the path of a gel as the
    current passed thru it.
     
  6. Tim Auton

    Tim Auton Guest

    "Watson A.Name - \"Watt Sun, the Dark Remover\""
    Water is compressible, just not very compressible, and nothing ever
    moves instantly. Specifically, the pressure wave would travel at the
    speed of sound in water (around 1500m/s).


    Tim
     
  7. Ok, real world, maybe simpler terms. And as you press on the column of
    water at one end of a long pipe, it will come out on the other end, with
    little delay. ;-) But the dye that you put in on one end will not come
    out until the total volume of water has flowed thru. This was supposed
    to be an analogy to the electrons in a wire, not a treatise on physics
    of water flow.
     
  8. You cannot see it that way. With water you have a large flow compared
    to the amount of water in ther pipe. So to fill a bucket of 10 liters,
    you put 1 leter in the pipe (assuming there was ait in it), and then
    10 liters in the bucket. But when tere was already water in it, you
    move 1 liter that was in the pipe into the bucket, and 8 new liters in
    the bucket, and the pipe is filled with the last 1 liter.

    A wire is like a filled, and extremely wide, pipe. To have large
    currents, you only need relatively slow movement of electrons. I did
    calculate that once in the past, but wouldnt know where to find the
    results. Could be something like meters a year or so (if I remember
    well.....).

    Regards,

    Pieter Hoeben
    http://www.hoeben.com
     
  9. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Yes. Only the valence electrons can be pushed around, of course. It
    turns out that most electrons are quite old.

    John
     
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