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Common Misconceptions
4 min read

Current Electricity

- Let us burst some of the common misconceptions
Is electric current only the flow of the electrons?
MYTH: The electric current is only due to the flow of electrons.
FACT: The electric current is not only the flow of electrons. Even if the protons flow, there is an electric current.
The electric current carriers are not only the electrons always. In the case of the solid conductors, the electrons are the ones that are responsible for the flow of current but in the case of the saltwater, human body, or the fluorescent bulbs, the atoms with extra protons flow and this is also a genuine current. In the case of the battery acids, the electric current is basically the flow of single protons in form of positive hydrogen ions.
The thick wires have low resistance
MYTH: Students may think that thick wires have less resistance as the charges have enough space to pass through them.
FACT: Only the thickness of the wires does not define the resistance.
The material of the wire is completely filled with the lattice of ions and therefore it is nothing like a thick wire that will provide more space to charged particles. The resistance of a wire depends on the resistivity of the material, length of the wire, and the area of cross-section combinedly.
Humid air is conductive
MYTH: It is said in some articles that the water vapor present in the air makes it conductive.
FACT: Evaporated water is not made up of charged particles. For air to be conductive, the individual droplets should have charge over them.
During humid conditions, the insulator surfaces develop the layer of surface charge. In such a case, if you try to charge a balloon by rubbing on your hair, it will not happen as the humid air damps the balloon and hairs. The damping slightly makes the surface of the insulator conductive whereas the air is always non-conductive. To charge a balloon by rubbing, simply dry the surfaces and rub it, the charges can be separated easily in that case.
A Conductor allows the charge to pass through it.
MYTH: A conductor gives a passage to the charged particles through it.
FACT: The conductor has a sufficient amount of free movable charges that support the flow of current.
If the conductor would only allow the charge to pass through them, then in that case, vacuum and air should have been the conductors and they do not create any barrier for charged particles. The case in conductors is actually that when a potential difference is applied across the ends of the conductors, the free movable charge particles in them start to flow in a particular direction and thus constitute the current.