Voltage – Is Voltage the Speed of Electrons


Current is the amount of electrons passing through a wire. Can we say that voltage is the speed of those electrons?

Best Answer

Is voltage the speed of electrons?

No, it's not the speed of the electrons moving within the conductor.

The voltage unit is potential energy per charge:

voltage definition formula

An example...

Imagine we have a ball of mass M = 10 kg.

This ball exists in a conservative gravitational field (the Earth's gravitational field). If we want to raise it by a height of 1 meter, we must - somehow - supply an X amount of energy, that gives the ball enough speed to move 1m above its surface.

We will give the ball this amount of energy in terms of kinetic energy (speed). So we throw the ball upwards with some speed, and as the ball moves upward, its speed decreases; and its potential energy increases until the it stops and all the kinetic energy is converted to potential energy.

The following picture shows the amount of potential energy for a ball of mass M = 10 kg at different heights above sea level:

energy at different height levels

But what if we want to make a generic scale?
For any ball of an arbitrary mass, at any height, we can get the amount of energy for every 1 kg in it (Energy per mass):

energy per mass at different height levels

Now we can say that, at a height of 3 meters above sea level, any object of mass X will have an amount of energy equals 29.4 joules for every 1 kg of mass. This is due to the earth's gravitational field.

Voltage, or electric potential, is the amount of potential energy (joules) that any "charged body" within an electric field will have, for every 1 coulomb of electric charge in it.

Related Topic