At what speed do electrons move and how often do they hit
Electrical force travels fast... nearly the speed of light. The actual
electrons move rather slowly. They do not contact each other. Having like
negative charges, they repel each other with greater force as they approach
each other. The force follows the inverse square law - 1/2 the distance... 4
times the force. As the distance between them approaches zero, the force of
repulsion approached infinity. As they flow, they would likely never have
this kind of energy available.
Speed of an electron has to do with the temperature of that object. For
example, the electrons in an ice cube move very slow, where as the
in a pot of boiling water move very fast. If you want specifics,
inside a metal at room temperature have an average speed of a few million
kilometers per hour.
In order to answer your question, I'd have to know what are the conditions
and the experimental setup. The speed of electrons can vary from essentially
zero to extremely close to their maximum possible speed, the speed of light.
For example, an electron trapped in an ionic crystal at low temperature and
in the absence of electric and magnetic fields pretty much stays put.
However, in a large accelorator the electron can accelarated so that it
moves at very nearly the speed of light.
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Update: June 2012