How can a lot of loose electrons cause a metal to be a good conductor? This is because each electron is an electric charge that is free to move. Moving electric charges can make up a current. But this is only true if they move the same way.
Due to thermal kinetic energy of the electrons and ions in the metal, these conduction electrons move in a random, disordered way, with a velocity close to 106 m/s. In total, however, they have zero net velocity because their motion is not ordered.
However, if an external field is applied, then the net motion of the electrons will follow the field.
Click on the image to start the applet.
Applet ‘Metallic Conductor’.
Simulation based on an animation of the Supercomet 2 project.
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