# What is Conventional Current and Electric Current? - Comparison

In today's world electricity is one of the most important forms of energy. Electrical energy is a form of energy produced by the movement of electrons from one atom to another. Electricity refers to the study of electric current, how electric current flows from one place to another in a circuit. When it comes to electricity everyone will hear the terms conventional current and electric current. In this article let us learn about what is conventional current and electric current with comparisons.

## What is Electric Current?

In order to create an electric current, there must be a movement of electrons from one atom to another atom. There are some materials in which the movement of electrons is relatively easy. The materials which permit the movement of electrons are called conductors of electricity. Some examples of electrical conductors are copper, silver, aluminum, gold, graphite, the human body, the earth, etc.

The flow of electrons in any conducting material is called electric current. Electrons have a negative charge. The electron movement or electric current occurs only when there is a potential difference i.e., emf or voltage.

When a potential difference or voltage is connected across a conductor using a battery. The electric pressure from the battery moves the free electrons, and thus the free electrons being negatively charged starts drifting towards the positive terminal of the battery as shown in the below figure. This directed flow of electrons in the conductor is called electron current or electric current.

The magnitude of current in a conductor will depend upon the flow of electrons per unit time. It is mathematically expressed as,

I = Q/t

Where Q is the charge measured in Coulombs and t is the time in seconds. The unit of current is coulombs/sec or ampere. If a current of magnitude 5 ampere is flowing in a conductor, it means 5 coulombs of charge flows per second in any cross-section of the conductor.

## What is Conventional Current?

Conventional current is defined to be in the opposite direction to the electric current. According to conventional current, the direction of electric current is assumed to flow from the positive terminal to the negative terminal of the battery as shown in the below figure.

Electric current was invented before the invention of the electron theory. In the eighteenth century before the invention of electrons, when Benjamin Franklin doing experiments on electricity he assumed that the electric current is due to the flow of positively charged particles from high potential to low potential i.e. from positive to negative. This assumed direction of current is called conventional current.

Later when electrons were discovered, it is found that the current in a conductor is due to negatively charged free electrons that flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal of the battery which is opposite to the assumed conventional current.

## What is Right, Conventional Current or Electric Current?

Technically, the electric current is correct because the current flow in a conductor is due to the flow of electrons from negative to positive. But there are some special things like plasma, salt water, acid solutions, and some liquids in which positively charged particles can also flow.

The convention of current flow assumed by Benjamin Franklin is so firmly established that almost all of the world uses it even now, although it has been proven that the actual direction of current flow in the conductor is opposite to it. It really doesn’t matter which convention you use if you’re consistent.

The direction of the current doesn't affect the properties of the circuit. Since the size of electrons is same as protons but with an opposite electric charge. The behavior or results from analyzing an electrical circuit is independent of the assumed direction of current flow.

Most of the rules, laws, and formulas are based on conventional current also many electrical engineers and electrical engineering textbooks follow conventional current notation. Therefore, both conventional current and electric current produces the same results as long as you keep them consistent throughout the circuit.

## Difference between Electric Current and Conventional Current :

Electric CurrentConventional Current
The electric current is the flow of negatively charged particles called electrons.Conventional current is the flow of positively charged particles.
The direction of electric current is from the negative to the positive terminal of the battery.The direction of conventional current is from the positive to the negative terminal of the battery.
The flow of electric current is actually due to the flow of electrons in the conductors.Conventional current is the assumption made for the flow of electric current before the invention of electrons.
Electric current is scientifically correct for the flow of electric current.Conventional current also gives the same result if used consistently.
Electric current was discovered after the discovery of electrons.The conventional current was discovered when electricity was discovered by Benjamin Franklin.

Do not enter any spam links and messages