When and Where is a Current Electrically Neutral?

From Natural Philosophy Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Scientific Paper
Title When and Where is a Current Electrically Neutral?
Read in full Link to paper
Author(s) Thomas E Phipps
Keywords {{{keywords}}}
Published 2011
Journal Proceedings of the NPA
Volume 8
No. of pages 2
Pages 449-451

Read the full paper here

Abstract

Many textbooks of electromagnetism give an example in which a current-carrying wire is alleged to be electrically neutral when at rest in the laboratory. They then show that the Lorentz contraction of moving charge, demanded by special relativity theory, causes a bunching of positive charge and a thinning of negative charge in the inertial system co-moving with the conduction electrons, with a resulting charge density imbalance and non-vanishing electric field measurable in that system. By a more careful application of special relativity theory, we show, on the contrary, that the wire cannot be strictly neutral in its rest system. Therefore the textbook calculations are in error.