How can parallel wires attract each other?
Electric current is caused by flow of electrons in a wire. Lets say the velocity of the drift of electrons is V. But if we consider this same setup in the frame of reference moving with velocity V, then in this frame of reference the electrons are at rest, and there is no current, and there cannot be no force of attraction? I am fresh out of college and I got a teaching job and some smartazz student asked me this question, and I am completely at loss. Could you please help me?
Asked By: Melissa Baker - 6/25/2009
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
It's an old relativity puzzler. The resolution is that the static positive background is length-contracted and that the wires are not electrically neutral in the moving frame of reference. So there is an electrostatic force between them... More
Answered By: Randy P - 6/25/2009
Additional Answers (3)
if you could provide a large enough STATIC charge on the wires, AND make the wires of opposite charges (positive and negative), THEN they would attract by the electrostatic action. When they got close enough to each other, there would be a discharge spark, like walking across carpet on a cold day... More
Answered By: Gary B - 6/25/2009
It's the difference between electrostatic and electromagnetic fields- the electrons have to be moving in relation to one another in order to have a magnetic influence, but not an electrostatic one... More
Answered By: Derek - 6/25/2009
The mythical 'V' that you reference is the average velocity, and there is no guarantee that -any- individual electron is moving at exactly that speed... More
Answered By: doug_donaghue - 6/25/2009
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