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## A Difference between conduction & convection current density?

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Hello Everyone,
Could anyone please explain the difference between the conduction current density
Photons
(J=σE) andthrough transparent
the convection current density (J=ρvd)? I really appreciate any examples or
materials, what's going on?
applications to further elaborate these two theories.
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Note:
Paulivexclusion
d is the particles'
principle average drift velocity.
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DeathbyGreen

## Conduction current is something you would witness in a conducting material, such as a

metal. It refers to the movement of current in the presence of an electric field and can be
described by Ohm's law.

Convection current is current flow in an insulating medium. This, however, does not

We can define current as the electric charge passing through an area per unit volume.
dQ dQ
I= dt
I =
dt
per unit time. Current density is the amount of current flowing through a
ΔI ΔI
surface per unit time J = ΔS J = with I = ∫ J ⋅ dS I = ∫ J ⋅ dS.
ΔS

## In a convection current, we have a current flowing through an insulating medium

ΔQ Δy ΔQ Δy
ΔI = Δt
= ρΔS Δt = ρΔSuy ΔI = Δt
= ρΔSu y where S is the surface the
= ρΔS
Δt
current is passing through, y is the length along the velocity vector, and uy u y is the
ΔI
velocity vector. So we can express the convection current as Jy = ΔS = ρ ⋅ uy
ΔI
Jy = = ρ ⋅ u y. Conduction current density will describe the ability for an electric field E to
ΔS
propagate through a medium, controlled by the proportionality constant sigma, or
conductivity. So, both describe a "current", but it might be easier to replace the word
"current" with "flow; convection describes the flow through an insulating medium, and
conductivity describes flow through a conducting medium.
Last edited: Sep 26, 2017

sams

## Sep 26, 2017 ( #3

sams !

In the case of a convecton current, do we mean the case of an "insulating medium" by
"dielectric of a capacitor?"
Does it experience an electric field?
What do we mean by "it does not follow Ohm's law?"

## Sep 26, 2017 ( #4

DeathbyGreen

Ohm's law is V = IRV = IR. Voltage is an electric potential difference between two points
which is therefore related to electric field. So conduction current, which is a function of
electric field (J = EσJ = Eσ), follows this law. Convection current expresses a flow due to
convection, for example, a current flow due to a temperature or density differential
between points. So it is not related to electric field, and therefore does not follow Ohm's
law. An insulating medium would be a medium which does not conduct current (at least
for a convection definition). An example of a convection current would be air in a house. If
the air is heated at the bottom of the house, and the air is cooler at the top, the warm air
rises due to a temperature (or density) differential. So you could define a current of air as
it rose, which would be a convection current.

## Sep 27, 2017 ( #5

NFuller
-
I think there is some confusion here. J = σEJ = σE describes charge flow in an Ohmic
conductor. J = ρvd J = ρv d is more general and can describe charge flow in any
macroscopic situation with a drift velocity, including within a conductor.

sams said: .

I really appreciate any examples or applications to further elaborate these two theories.

Here is a simple example. Lets say you wanted to find the drift velocity vd v d of the charges
in a conductor with conductivity σσ in a uniform electric field of magnitude E E. Then
relating the two equations gives

σE = ρvd
σE = ρv d

## Since ρρ is the number of charge carriers in a given volume, it can be expressed as

ρm ne
ρ=
m
ρ mne
ρ=
m

where ρm ρ m is the density of the material, mm is the molecular mass of the material, nn is
the number of free charge carriers per atom, and ee is elementary charge. The drift
velocity is then

σmE
vd =
ρm ne
σmE
vd =
ρ mne

## Sep 28, 2017 ( #6

Lord Jestocost
L
sams said: .

Hello Everyone,

Could anyone please explain the difference between the conduction current density (J=σE) and the
convection current density (J=ρvd)? I really appreciate any examples or applications to further
elaborate these two theories.

## Note: vd is the particles' average drift velocity.

Thanks!

Regarding electric conduction and convection currents, I see it in the following way when
considering moving media. The electric conduction current is defined by I = σE where σ
is the electrical conductivity of the medium and E is the electrical field measured in a
system which is moving with the medium. As the medium itself moves with a certain
velocity v with respect to a stationary reference system the total electrical current with
respect to the stationary reference system can be written as

J = I + ρv

## Sep 28, 2017 ( #7

NFuller
-
Lord Jestocost said: .

Regarding electric conduction and convection currents, I see it in the following way when
considering moving media. The electric conduction current is defined by I = σE where σ is the
electrical conductivity of the medium and E is the electrical field measured in a system which is
moving with the medium. As the medium itself moves with a certain velocity v with respect to a
stationary reference system the total electrical current with respect to the stationary reference
system can be written as

J = I + ρv

## where ρ is the charge density in the moving medium.

This is not a correct interpretation. vd v d is the drift velocity of the charge carriers which is
measured with respect to a stationary conductor.

## Sep 28, 2017 ( #8

Lord Jestocost
L

NFuller said: .

This is not a correct interpretation. vd v d is the drift velocity of the charge carriers which is
measured with respect to a stationary conductor.

I think the OP made a mistake confusing something (or he/she should indicate what the
terms in J = ρvd mean and where he found this equation). Convection currents are
proportional to the charge density ρ. Even if ρ = 0, you can have conduction currents.

EDIT: As far as I remember, the term convection current is used when addressing the
current density of plasmas.
Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2017

density?

## N Difference between Superconductivity & Ballistic Conduction

A Convection current

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