Conventional and Electron Flow

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Zealot, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Zealot

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Hi, a post from this site says that in Conventional notations Positive terminals are labelled "surplus" in charge, however in Electron flow the Negative side is the "surplus" charge.

    This confuses me greatly since the general belief is that conventional current flows +ve to -ve opposite to Electron flow. I get this, but if the positive(conventional) is actually the negative(electron flow) then they go the same way... don't they?

    Now, if current always flows from "surplus" charge then surely the conventional and Electron flows flow the same direction around the circuit but the terminals are labelled opposite.

    Please help :confused: am i missing something? People say they flow the opposite way around, but surely the terminals are just labelled opposite? This means surely, that the Conventional and Electron flows do not flow in different directions but from differently labelled terminals?
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    Keep it simple. Electrons are negative. The side that has the surplus of electrons is negative. The other side is positive, and has a deficit of electrons. Electrons flow from the negative side to the positive side. This is electron flow theory.

    Conventional theory was invented by Ben Franklin, before most of the physics of matter had been discovered. When you refer to it be aware it is basically incorrect, but in many cases it doesn't matter, which is why it is still being discussed.

    Where it does matter is when you are moving materials as in sputtering or using electrons in ballistic mode, such as vacuum tubes (AKA, valves). Conventional completely breaks down in these cases. Because of this, the AAC book only discusses electron flow theory.

    There is even more confusion when chemical processes are discussed, such as batteries. But for now I'll leave it at that.

    If you looked at the sticky in the feedback forum all this and more was explained.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
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