Definition of Electron Flow and Electric Current

Electron Flow – Almost all tools that we use today contain electric charges, so every day we will always use electrically charged devices. In fact, electric charge is one of the charges that exist in the human body.

When talking about electric charge, there must always be a negative charge and a positive charge because without it, the electric charge will create a repulsive force. In other words, electric charges that have the same charge will produce a repulsive force and electric charges that have a different charge will produce an attractive force.

Basically, the basic electric charge has particles that are interconnected, namely proton particles and electron particles in which the two particles include the constituent particles of atoms. However, inside the electric charge there are no neutron particles. Without an electric charge, electric current cannot flow.

The existence of electron particles in electric charge, it can be said that the flow of electrons and electric current are always related to each other. In order to know more about the flow of electrons and electric current. So, on this occasion we will discuss more about the flow of electrons and electric current.

Definition of Electron

Before discussing electron flow, we need to know what electrons are in order to more easily understand electron flow. Electrons are subatomic particles that are located around the atomic nucleus, so they are not in the atomic nucleus and are negatively charged. Therefore, electron particles are often referred to as constituent or forming particles of atoms that are located outside the atomic nucleus.

Because the electron is one of the particles that make up the atom, this particle has a mass weight of approximately 1836 lighter than the proton mass or if it is denoted, such as 1/1836 of the proton mass. With such a mass weight, the electron can be said to have a very small size.

Moreover, the negative electric charge in electrons is around -1. The amount of this electric charge is the same as the proton charge, but has the opposite property. Electrons have a negative charge and protons have a positive charge.

The positron is the antiparticle of the electron which is the same as the electron except that the positron has a positive charge. Therefore, when an electron encounters an antiparticle, the positron, the two particles either scatter or completely disappear. Even if they disappear, the two particles will give rise to a pair or more gamma ray photons.

Every electron contained in various types of atoms always experiences differences from one another. The difference lies in the degrees of freedom when moving around the atomic nucleus. Inside the electron there is something called a free electron, free electrons are electrons that can move freely to leave freely because they are inseparable from atomic bonds. In addition, in the space between closely spaced atoms, free electrons can float.

If the atomic electrons originating from one type of object must leave the atom and move to another item when the space for free movement is limited and there is an external force directed at the item. Even so, the electrons still cannot move freely between the atoms in that object.

The electrons themselves actually have a mobility that exists in a particular item or material and the mobility of electrons is known as electrical conductivity. The amount of electrical conductivity is determined by the number of types of atoms in an object or material (the number of protons or positive charge particles present in each atomic nucleus will determine its chemical identity). Apart from that, the electrical conductivity is also determined by the way the atoms are connected to each other.

Electron mobility is divided into two types, namely conductors and insulators. A conductor is a material in which there is a high mobility of electrons or has a large number of free electrons. An insulator is a material that has little or no electron mobility in it or has no free electrons at all.

Some examples of objects or materials that are included in conductors, such as iron, steel, gold, silver, copper, aluminum, bronze, brass, and others. While examples of insulating objects or materials, such as paper, oil, glass, rubber, glass fiber, cotton, plastic wood, and so on.

Electron Inventor and Developer

The inventor of the electron known by many people is Joseph John Thomson or better known as JJ Thomson. However, based on some historical records, JJ Thomson continued the experiments of William Crookes. After being developed by JJ Thomson, the discovery of electrons continues to develop. If sorted there are several inventors who played a role in the development of electrons, including:

Johann William Hittorf and Eugen Goldstein

At first, the discovery of electrons began when a physicist from Germany studied electrical conductivity and he made a discovery in 1869 in the form of a beam coming from the cathode. The radiance will increase as long as there is a decrease in gas pressure. The physicist’s name was Johann William Hittorf, he was born on March 27, 1824 in Bonn, Germany. He died on November 28, 1914.

Then in 1876, the discovery of rays originating from the cathode was named cathode rays . However, the name for the cathode rays was not given by Johann William Hittorf but by Eugen Goldstein.

William Crookes

William Crookes was born in England in 1832 in England. He is a physicist and chemist. After the appearance of cathode rays , then in 1870, William Crookes conducted experiments to create the first vacuum cathode ray tube. Through the tube he had made, William Crookes showed the emergence of a beam of light that could be seen from inside the tube and that light carried energy and moved from the cathode to the anode.

In fact, he can use the magnetic field used to deflect the beam. By doing so, he could show that the light seemed to have a negative charge. Therefore, he stated that cathode rays are particles that have a negative charge, exist in all matter, and have mass. Then in 1879, William Crookes gave his discovery a name, namely radian matter .

JJ Thomson is with John S. Townsend and HA Wilson

JJ Thomson with his experimental friends, John S. Townsend and HA Wilson conducted experiments to develop the cathode ray tube that had been invented by William Crookes. JJ Thomson and two colleagues not only developed the cathode ray tube , but also wanted to prove that cathode rays were a new particle.

Then, the three of them carried out experimental tests on the influence of the magnetic and electric fields in the cathode ray tube. From the experiments that have been done. JJ Thomson concluded that cathode rays are one of the particles that make up atoms that have a negative charge.

After the discovery made by JJ Thomson was successful, there was a physicist from Ireland named George F. Fitzgerald who gave the name of the particle that had been found, namely the electron particle. The negatively charged electron particle that we know today, especially in the formation of atoms or as subatoms.

Therefore, the electron particle is often said to have been discovered by JJ Thomson. JJ Thomson was born in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, England on December 18, 1856. He died at the age of 83 on August 30, 1940 in Cambridge, England.

Henri Becquerel

After JJ Thomson conducted experiments and developed cathode rays and electrons, then there was a physicist named Henri Becquerel and he came from France. In the trial, Henri Becquerel said that there are alpha and beta particles. The emergence of these two particles is due to being able to penetrate a material object.

Then in 1900, Henri Becquerel wanted to prove that electrons are part of the particles that make up atoms. To carry out this proof, he conducted research and from that research resulted in a conclusion that beta rays originating from radium could be deflected by an electric field. In addition, Henri Becquerel concluded that the mass-to-charge ratio is the same as the mass-to-charge ratio of the cathode rays.

Robert Andrews Millikan

Robert Andrews Milikan or better known as Robert Milikan was born on March 22, 1868 in Morrison. He was a physicist who wanted to measure electrons accurately by conducting an oil drop experiment. The experiment was carried out in 1909 and published in 1911. This experiment by Robert Milikan used an electric field.

The electric field in this experiment serves to prevent any charged oil droplets from falling due to the force of gravity. The tools used by Robert Millikan can measure the charge of 1 to 150 ions provided that the error is less than 0.3 percent. He died on December 19, 1953.

Charles Wilson

When it started to enter the 20th century, it was discovered that there was a fast movement of particles that had a charge and under certain conditions could cause water vapor to appear through saturation which condensed along the particle stream. With such a principle, in 1911, Charles Wilson created a cloud chamber in which the cloud space could capture any path of particles that have electron charges that can move at high speeds.

Electron Flow 

The flow of electrons is the flow of electric current that moves from a negatively charged material towards a positively charged material. Therefore, it can be said that in an electric circuit there are two directions of electric current, namely the flow of electrons originating from the negative pole of the battery (cathode) and then returning towards the positive pole of the battery (anode) or the flow of protons.

This electron flow belongs to the type of electric current flow in which there are two types of electric current flow, namely conventional current flow and electron flow .

So, when there are different charged materials (negative and positive) combined with the flow of electrons, it will produce an electric current. However, materials with the same charge (positive with positive) or (negative with negative) will not conduct an electric current.

In order to better understand the flow of electrons, you can see that when a metal wire is connected at the two ends of a battery, it will produce an electric current. This is because the electrons in the atoms flow freely.

Thus it can be said that in an electric current, electrons can flow or move from one place to another. If the material is charged more electrons flow to the positively charged material, it is referred to as the flow of electrons. Meanwhile, if a material with more protons or positive charge flows to a negatively charged material or electrons, it is called conventional electricity.

Electron Flow Example

Examples of the flow of electrons as follows.

1. Electron Flow With Marbles

In the picture above, there is a tube that is filled with marbles where when the marbles are inserted into the tube through the left side, the marbles will come out on the right side of the tube. The displacement did not cause any problems even though the distance the marbles moved was short. So, from this example it can be said that in the field of electricity, the influence of one conductor material on another conductor has a speed equal to the speed of light or approximately 186,000 miles per second.

2. Electron Flow from Source to Destination

Then, in this second example we will see a stream of electrons flowing from the electron source to the destination. From the picture above, we know that the electron source carries new electrons through the wire to the intended flow of electrons, thereby creating a flow of electrons.

3. Electron Flow is Cut by Cutting the Wire

If in the second example the electron source can produce electrons, then in the third example the flow of electrons is broken. If a wire (as a connecting source of electrons to the destination of electrons) will not produce a flow of electrons. This can happen because the broken wire raises air. Air is an insulating material that can cut off the flow of electrons.

4. Electron Flow Connected Using New Wire

If the electron connecting wire is broken, it can be reconnected using a new wire. That way, the electron source can get to the electron destination, resulting in a flow of electrons.

Electric current

In English, an electric current is called an electric current . Electric current is a flow that arises from the presence of electron charges flowing from one point to another in a circuit.

An atom that carries an electric current is composed of electrons and protons. Electrons are electrical charges that are negatively charged and have the function of carrying a charge to move to another place. While the proton is a positively charged electric charge that generally moves in the atomic nucleus. The value of the electric current will be greater when the value of the voltage between the electron charge and the proton charge is greater.

The international (SI) unit for electric current is the Ampere (A). Meanwhile, when writing the electric current formula, use the symbol I ( current ). The flow of electric current can flow from high potential to low potential.


Electrons are subatomic or part of the particles that make up atoms. This particle has a negative charge and is located outside the atomic nucleus that surrounds the atomic nucleus. Electrons that have a negative charge will react when they meet a positively charged proton particle. Meanwhile, in the flow of electric current, the flow of electrons is the flow of electric current in which negative electric charges flow to positive electric charges.

Thus, it can be concluded that an electric current can occur due to the presence of negative electric charges (electrons) and positive electric charges (protons). In addition, the amount of electric current is also determined by the number of negative electric charges and positive electric charges. In other words, the greater the electric charge of the electron (negative) and the electric charge of the proton (positive), the greater the flow of electric current.