I apologise if this is a very basic question but I hope you can help.

If I connect a wire to the positive terminal of my battery only, why do the electrons in the wire not flow out of the wire?

If the positive terminal consists of positive ions surely there is a lot of positive charge within this terminal attracting the electrons in the wire. The charge in the wire will be initially be equal due to the equal sum of protons and electrons. With there being an equal attractive and repulsive charge behind the electrons and a large attractive charge to the positive terminal why does this not result in a flow towards the positive terminal?

Why will the electrons not flow into the positive terminal until the positive charge in the wire due to electrons that have left equals the positive ions remaining in the positive terminal.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, they do. But the number of electrons required to move is very small, based on the capacitance between the wire and the negative terminal of the battery. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Jan 18, 2023 at 16:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually they would move. A little. A very little. A very very little. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kyle B
    Jan 18, 2023 at 16:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If I connect a wire to the positive terminal of my battery only ... why would a wire be required to start the current flow?... the battery terminal is not insulated \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Jan 18, 2023 at 17:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ The battery terminal is indeed insulated... by air. \$\endgroup\$
    – AndyW
    Jan 18, 2023 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndyW and air is a perfect insulator? don't think so... \$\endgroup\$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 18, 2023 at 17:59


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.