What convention is used to refer to positive and negative sides on this site's textbook?

Thread Starter

bypassrestrictions

Joined Jun 1, 2021
70
In the first three sections of Chapter 1, negative side is said to have surplus of electrons which move to the positive side, but in section 4 of Chapter 1, the one where battery symbol is introduced, it says electrons are pushed through the positive side.

Aren't there two conventions used to refer charge flow, the one used by physicists and the one used by electrical and electronics engineers, which is being used in the textbooks? Isn't using contradictory conventions confusing?
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,912
Isn't using contradictory conventions confusing?

It can be if switched in the same abstract circuit current context but it's not if you understand the basis for the convention when showing something like the charge separation process with an actual physical object like a electrochemical battery.
 

Thread Starter

bypassrestrictions

Joined Jun 1, 2021
70
I'm pretty sure earlier sections said electrons flowed from negative to positive side, but in this section it is explained that they flow from positive to negative side.
 
Last edited:

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,912
I'm pretty sure earlier sections said electrons flowed from negative to positive side, but in this section it is explained that they flow from positive to negative side.
It might but out of the limited context of the physical transport of charged particles in electro-chemical or electro-emission, knowing the actual direction of electron movements tells us little about how energy moves in the circuit.
 

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,972
When designing a circuit I think it might be a little more important to get the polarities correct, then concerning yourself with something as abstract as how energy moves in a circuit, which basically takes care of itself.

Electrons always flow from negative to positive, but perhaps some confusion can be had when charging a battery when electrons will be flowing into the negative terminal.
 

jkaiser20

Joined Aug 9, 2016
24
…which basically takes care of itself.
Thanks, that’s a great angle to take! For sure the energy will go where it is supposed to go. It can be fun to ‘debate' these sorts of subtleties, but in the end it barely matters.

It feels analogous to centrifugal versus centripetal…regardless the ball stays out at the end of the string.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,912
When designing a circuit I think it might be a little more important to get the polarities correct, then concerning yourself with something as abstract as how energy moves in a circuit, which basically takes care of itself.

Electrons always flow from negative to positive, but perhaps some confusion can be had when charging a battery when electrons will be flowing into the negative terminal.
Knowing how energy takes care of itself is the key to understanding circuits beyond simple resistive battery circuits using electron currents as a proxy for magnetic field energy..
 

Thread Starter

bypassrestrictions

Joined Jun 1, 2021
70
It might but out of the limited context of the physical transport of charged particles in electro-chemical or electro-emission, knowing the actual direction of electron movements tells us little about how energy moves in the circuit.
How energy moves in circuit depends on components between positive and negative terminals but in the explanation about charge carries using two different conventions is intentionally misleading the student. I think the section in Voltage has been tampered with this confusing convention.

When designing a circuit I think it might be a little more important to get the polarities correct, then concerning yourself with something as abstract as how energy moves in a circuit, which basically takes care of itself.

Electrons always flow from negative to positive, but perhaps some confusion can be had when charging a battery when electrons will be flowing into the negative terminal.
You mean to say when AA batteries are charged, electrons flow into the battery through negative side?

Thanks, that’s a great angle to take! For sure the energy will go where it is supposed to go. It can be fun to ‘debate' these sorts of subtleties, but in the end it barely matters.

It feels analogous to centrifugal versus centripetal…regardless the ball stays out at the end of the string.
I'm not trying to debate this topic, there are different conventions being used in the same chapter and I think this is tampered or a typo.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,651
In the first three sections of Chapter 1, negative side is said to have surplus of electrons which move to the positive side, but in section 4 of Chapter 1, the one where battery symbol is introduced, it says electrons are pushed through the positive side.

Aren't there two conventions used to refer charge flow, the one used by physicists and the one used by electrical and electronics engineers, which is being used in the textbooks? Isn't using contradictory conventions confusing?
It does not say "electrons are pushed through the positive side".

This is what it says:

"The positive end of a battery is the end that tries to push charge carriers out of it (remember that by convention we think of charge carriers as being positively charged, even though electrons are negatively charged). Likewise, the negative end is the end that tries to attract the charge carriers."

The previous version of the eText used electron flow model.
At some point this was changed to conventional current flow, i.e. current flows from positive terminal to negative terminal of a battery.
 

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,972
" You mean to say when AA batteries are charged, electrons flow into the battery through negative side? "

Yes.

Electrons flow into the negative terminal during charging, and out of the negative terminal during discharge.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,935
The reason there are two different conventions, is that it doesn’t matter which way charge flows in order to understand a circuit, as long as you’re consistent.

This concept - that there are multiple ways to look at a system which are equivalent - will assist you on many designs. So try to engender it.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,912
The reason there are two different conventions, is that it doesn’t matter which way charge flows in order to understand a circuit, as long as you’re consistent.

This concept - that there are multiple ways to look at a system which are equivalent - will assist you on many designs. So try to engender it.
Great words of wisdom.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
24,651
Conventional current and electron flow are consistent.
There is no confusion if you understand and accept either or both models.
 
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