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For heat to move through a solid substance, there must be a temperature difference between two points. Likewise, the movement of electric charges in a conductor also requires a difference in electric potential.
The electric potential at a point is defined as the amount of work done in moving a unit positive charge from infinity to that point against the electric force.
The potential of electric charges can be determined by the concentration of charges at a particular point. The number of electric charges at a point can be increased by doing some amount of work. The work done in moving a unit positive charge to a specific point is known as electric potential. It is measured in terms of volts (\(V\)).
In other words, electric potential determines the direction of current flow. Charges will always flow from a higher electric potential to a lower electric potential point in a conductor.
Conventional current and electron current:
A positively charged proton is at a higher potential as compared to a negatively charged electron. Hence, the protons move from a higher potential to a lower potential, whereas the electrons move from the lower potential to a higher potential.
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The flow of protons and electrons
The movement of the positive charges or protons constitutes the conventional current whereas, the movement of the negative charges or electrons constitutes the electron current.
The direction of conventional current
The flow of negatively charged electrons is always opposite to the direction of protons. Hence, the direction of conventional current is always opposite to the direction of electron current.
The conventional current moves from the positive terminal to the negative terminal of the battery. At the same time, the electron current (negative charge) moves from the negative terminal to the positive terminal of the battery.
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The direction of electron current
The direction of electrons makes the electric current move from the positive terminal to the negative terminal of the circuit.