How do electrons move in AC circuit?

1 Answer
May 5, 2015

"They don't move" just oscillate arround an equilibrium position.

The electrons on an AC current just move forward and back, you can see this by looking at the intensity vs time graphic. Some times it has a positive value ( moving right for example) half a cycle after it has the same value but negative ( going left) and when I=0 they are not moving ( changing from going right to going left, like an harmonic oscillator).

Now the question is, how does AC work if the electrons don't move?
Well it works because the electric field created by the electrons moving all of them to the right or left is "instantly" felt at the end of the cable (not instantly, the electric field perturbation travels at speed c because the bosons of the electromagnetic field are photons and they travel at light speed).

So the electrons of the beginning of the cable move like an harmonic oscillator and "instantly" the ones from the end of the cable ( and all of them in fact) move exactly the same way as the ones in the beginning and this ones of the end are the ones used for do electric work.