What would happen if electricity traveled at the speed of sound – quora gas near me now


As soon as we open a tap the water comes from it, right!? It’s instantaneous. But obviously speed is not much. The reason is tap has just held the water with its stopper. As soon as we turn the tap, the water comes out. It actually doesn’t have to travel from the water tank till the tap. It’s already present near the tap, blocked by the stopper, and so almost instantaneously comes out as soon as the stopper is opened.

Similarly drft velocity is tiny. However the electrons are present all the way till the device. As soon as a potential difference is created, the very last electron , just near to device, moves / drifts and reaches the device. And hence almost instantaneously the device starts working!

We can see this, as a bunch of children standing together making a long line. Now this entire line moves with very small velocity. However it stands very much nearer to a wall. So even if their speed is less (here in mm/s) they reach the wall very fast since the first kid is already near to it.

If you define how fast “electricity travels” as the speed with which the electrons move through a wire, then you’re in for a surprise. That speed is slower than your walking speed. I can’t remember the actual number, but I seem to recall that 1km/h is a good estimate.

And if you imagine all the electrons lying side-by-side in the wire, if they all shift just a tiny little bit to one side, that is a whole lot of charge being moved. In fact, if all the electrons move to the right, you can picture is as one package of positive charge being moved from the far right end, all the way to the far left end of the wire. And since the electrons pushing each other happens very, very fast, that movement of charge happens almost at the speed of light. Which is why we normally say that “electricity travels” at almost the speed of light.

I cannot imagine this speed being different. Because as you can see from the explanation above, that speed isn’t an actual speed with which anything moves. It’s the speed with which the electrical field propagates. And that has to be almost equal to the speed of light, as far as I know. So I guess your question boils down to “what if the speed of light was much slower?”. And that has been answered a thousand times already.

First we must ask what kind of energy we are referring to. If we are talking about general energy (think of a computer) or other forms like kinetic energy (energy from movement) or thermal energy (heat energy). I can not begin to go into the results of this, it may even have effects on the conservation of mass. So we will just describe the general energy you picture in your PC which has its energy sourced from your local energy provider, and it varies where you live how they get their energy.

Now when we look at it, it’s exactly what it sounds like, really slow light. Light moves at 299 792 458 m / s and electricity is slightly slower. Now think of the speed of light and compare that to the speed of sound which is 343 m / s. To put that into perspective thats the equivalent of walking to China instead of taking an airplane. Web pages would take days (literally) to load. The wiring in your computer relies solely on the fact that energy can reach places efficiently. When you turn on your light switch, light travels at about one foot per nanosecond. With simple arithmetic we can see that it would take 8,740,300 nanoseconds per foot or 0.0087403 seconds per foot if light was traveling at the speed of sound. This may not seem like much but that’s a few second to just turn on a light. Now imagine large scale operations like the moon landing and your phone. The moon landing would become impossible and everyday things like your phone would become chores instead of luxuries. We would have no traffick lights, movies or any modern convinces. Be great full for what you have.