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In the circuit shown below, I am considering ground to be ideal earth ground (stays at 0V no matter how much current it absorbs). It is my understanding that current flows when there is a potential difference. Thus, I would expect current to flow to both the negative terminal of the battery and to ground. Why wouldn't current leak to ground? I am looking for a physics explanation.

The following two questions have addressed this issue (First, Second), but I am unsatisfied with the answers given. Specifically, one of the answers noted that the voltage source must have an equal out flow and in flow of current to sustainably generate an EMF. I don't see how this would affect whether or not current would leak to ground. Consider a source that doesn't have that constraint (it can infinitely output electrons with some set potential).

Thank you!!



marked as duplicate by Dave Tweed Jan 13 at 19:55

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ A source that "infinitely output electrons" does not obey conservation of charge -- it would quickly develop a huge positive charge of its own. Each additional electron would require more energy than the previous one. Such things simply do not exist in terms of the physics we use to describe circuits. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Jan 13 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ If there was an overall positive or negative static charge on the circuit before you connected to ground then a brief discharge current would occur. After that nothing because there is no potential difference anymore. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Jan 13 at 22:32