Does electricity travel at the speed of light?

No. No. Electricity moves very slowly.

It’s really, really slow.

Consider feet per second. It’s actually inches per second. It is slower than your car. It is even slower than your car.

Are you joking? It’s not true. Drift velocity is the speed at which electricity or electrons travel in a conductor.

The wavefront of the charge is what moves fast at about 2/3 of the speed of light in copper.

Imagine your garden hose being attached to a dam a few miles from you. How fast does water travel in the environment? Your hose would travel approximately 10-20 miles an hour depending on the pressure.

Your hose is connected with a dam. But water will come out of your host when you turn it on. The dam is what creates the pressure, right?

This is how electricity works. The electrons actually move very slowly. They move very slowly, but they fill up the conductor and create a wave that travels through them. Yes, I get what you are thinking. What if the tap was located at the dam’s end?

This is another way to see it. Imagine a 6km long rod of steel suspended by a string. It’s lightweight, and very frictionless. You’ll find a switch at one end. The switch should be turned on so that you can pull the rod. The switch will light up in a second, but you are only slowly pulling the rod.

Even though the rod moves slowly, the wave created by you pulling on it travels through the rod at sound speed and reaches the switch one second later. So, although the rod’s speed is only a centimeter per second, the wave travels at 6000m/s.

This is how electricity travels. Although electrons travel slowly, the electric field they push through conductors drives them at approximately 200,000 km/sec

While electricity is slow to move, the field it pushes through conductors moves very fast and at a high percentage of speed of light.

Leave a Comment