Sorry if this has been asked before. Could also be a really basic question (new to electrical study).

I am a bit confused about the relationship between electrons and charges. So what I understand is this: (1) One coulomb of charge has 6.24 x 10^18 electrons and (2) an electron always carries one charge. Does that mean that ALWAYS for any given amount of electrons, there will be the same amount of charges? I am confused about this because the definition of coulombs interchange between electrons and charge. Some say it is 6.24x10^18 charge - some say it is electrons.

I am conceptually picturing in my head an electron "soldier". It carries a "charge". A soldier can only carry one charge. 6.24 x 10^18 "soldiers" equals one coulomb which simultaneously means the same number of charges (in essence, an electron is a charge carrier). Each soldier also carries food (stored potential energy) which is measured volts, which gets used up as the soldier goes on his/her journey.

So the question is - am I going in the right direction in terms of conceptually understanding charges, electrons and less importantly, voltage?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, yes, and yes. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 18, 2014 at 23:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ an electron IS the charge. If there is X charge, then there is X amount of electrons. \$\endgroup\$
    – KyranF
    Oct 18, 2014 at 23:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not quite accurate to say that the electron is the charge; there's no way an electron could be a positive charge. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 18, 2014 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cross posted: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/142041/… \$\endgroup\$ Oct 19, 2014 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks all. Wasnt sure where to post this question (as a beginner, EE and physics both seemed like possible forums) so posted it to physics SE as well. Hope I didn't breach any rule. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gil
    Oct 19, 2014 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


Yes, every electron is negatively charged with \$-1.602 \cdot 10^{−19}\$ C, meaning that for an electric charge of -1 C it is required to have \$ 6.24 \cdot 10^{18}\$ electrons. Sometimes the term "unit charge" or "elementary charge" (often denoted as \$e\$) is used to refer to the electric charge of an electron \$-1.602 \cdot 10^{−19}\$ C

Your concept of soldiers carrying charges and food (but remember to feed your soldiers before they go on a journey) seems to be correct. However, an analogy which probably is more widely used is water. Flow of water droplets adds up a bit like the flow of electrons in an electric circuit, and laws like Ohms law, Kirchoffs current law and Kirchoffs voltage law are all easily translated.

A short description with animations of the water analogy may be found here Electrical water analogy


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