Let’s say you have a regular flashlight.
Turn it on.
What is the time it takes for the electrons from the battery to reach the bulb.
Many people believe that the light is almost instantaneous. Therefore, the electrons must be moving at the speed of light.
It might be surprising to you to know that even one electron can take many seconds to make it from battery to bulb.
An electron traveling along a copper wire at a speed of about 1 centimeter per second is the speed of light. It must cover 10 cms in 10 seconds to reach the bulb.
How does the light come on so instantly?
The speed of ELECTRICITY refers to the speed at which light travels in copper. However, the speed of the ELECTRONS moves at a speed of around 1cm/sec. This is dog slow.
This can be confusing, so I offer a simple analogy.
Imagine you have a pipe that is about the same length as your pipe. You fill it with ball bearings. You can push a ball bearing (an electronic) into one end (the wire), and a second ball bearing pops out of the other.
However, if you take one particular ball bearing and paint it red and then push it into a hose, you will have to stuff hundreds of more bearings in order to get the red one out of the other end.
This shows that “ballbearing-icity”, the speed at which a ball bearing moves, is very fast. However, the speed at which a single ball bearing moves is slower.