|Is electricity matter? I have found many different
websites that say it is, but others say that it
isn't. Would you please clear this up?|
|Question Date: 2016-01-26|
Electricity is the movement of electrons (or
anything else that has electric charge).
Electrons are matter. However, electrons by
themselves are not electricity. Because
electricity requires movement of matter, you could
say that it's matter or that it's not, depending
on your definition of matter.
Let me give an example of what's basically the
same question and which might be able to show why
this is a confusing question: is wind
is the movement of air. Air is matter. Does this
mean that wind is also matter? (Do you see why
this makes definitions unclear?)
Normally, I would have to regard electricity
form of energy rather than matter, but unlike
"pure" forms of energy such as light, electricity
needs matter to exist.
It's tricky because the word "electricity" has
an everyday usage that refers to energy or power
(power is energy per time). Neither energy nor
power is matter.
In physics, usually the word "electricity"
isn't really used. "Electric current" is more
common, and is defined as the flow of charges,
where the charges are held by particles
(electrons). Electrons have mass, so they
are definitely matter. But is the *flow* of
electrons the matter? I would argue no,
but I can understand why it may be debated on the
This is an interesting question, but it is a
question really of semantics. Meaning that it is
a discussion about what the specific definition of
"electricity" is, which is vaguer than you might
think. You should focus on learning the
fundamentals of how electricity works, because
then you will understand why somebody would think
one way or another.
You can look up "electricity" in a dictionary,
encyclopedia, or textbook and probably get several
slightly different but similar answers. I would
say that "electricity" refers to the flow of
energy or information by the movement of charged
particles. In most cases those charged
particles are the negatively charged electrons
orbiting atomic nuclei, but in some cases like
batteries you can have movement of positively
charged ions (atoms or molecules missing an
electron or two, leaving them with a positive
charge). These charged particles have mass,
and are thus "matter". So based on this
definition I would say that matter is required for
electricity to work, but electricity itself is not
the matter but the interaction of the the electric
charges that these particles have by electric and
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