Voltage terminology in plain english

Voltage terminology in plain english

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The terminology I’ve seen to describe voltage is confusing. It’s like there is no way to accurately state (in one or two words) that voltage is present. For example, in an open circuit, people often say that the entire supply voltage “appears” at the two open conductor ends. Does voltage “appear”, does it “exist”, does it “occur”? When two long wires are connected to the two battery terminals, does the voltage “propagate” down the wires? Does it “manifest”? Does it “appear”? I’d like to be able to use simple English to explain what is happening regarding the voltage.voltageShareCiteEditFollowFlagasked 32 mins agoAnnette Gates4333 bronze badges

  • 2All of these words are perfectly valid (though manifest is a bit unusual). This isn’t technical terminology. – Hearth 28 mins ago
  • 2All of those words are plain English and I don’t see that, in general, they are contradictory. Can you explain why the choice of “exist” versus “occur”, for example, would be confusing to you? – Elliot Alderson 28 mins ago
  • 2It's like there is no way to accurately state (in one or two words) that voltage is present – OK then 3 words: “voltage is present”. Where’s the problem here? Will not three words do the job? Why is it confusing you? – Andy aka 27 mins ago 
  • Ha, let me try using my lousy English: (1) Never mind the two long wires first, but focus at the two battery terminals. (2) Now when we say eg, the battery has a voltage of 1.5V, then the following is happening: a huge number of electrons crowd at the negative terminal of the battery. – tlfong01 23 mins ago   
  • 2Do you understand that water pressure ‘appears’ in all the water pipes of your house when all the taps are turned off? – HandyHowie 22 mins ago
  • Actually what is happening (appearing, occurring, existing, …) can be very accurately described, as follows: (3) Every electron has a very very small negative “charge” which can be measured in units of “Coulumbs”. (4) How accurate to measure is not important to understand the idea/concept of electric charge which causes attraction or repulsion. (5) A rough/bad analogy is the “height” of a person. When we say the person is “tall”, we don’t really need a ruler to understand what is the meaning of height. – tlfong01 11 mins ago   
  • (6) But if you have an “electronic microscope”, I think you can see the little electron guys crowded at one battery terminal, and very few guy at the positive terminal. – tlfong01 7 mins ago   
  • (7) Now if you connect the two battery terminals by conducting wires, electrons do propagate (flow) from the negative battery terminal to the positive terminal. This flow of electrons is called electric current and can also be accurately measure in units of “Ampere” which is a certain number of Coulumbs (electrons) per second. Again, never mind the names of the units, what is important is that real things do exist/occur, and we can very, very accurately measured it. – tlfong01 1 min ago    Edit   

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