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Why is electric current treated as a fundamental quantity?Fundamental quantities are...

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acidified | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 20, 2012 at 7:18 AM via web

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Why is electric current treated as a fundamental quantity?

Fundamental quantities are those that doesn't depend upon other physical quantities, but the formula (electric current=charge/time) clearly shows that electric current depends upon the physical quantities charge and time.This makes the electric current a derived quantity.  Please give your logic on this one.

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 21, 2012 at 8:22 PM (Answer #1)

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I think probably electric current, in its simplest definition, addresses the flow of electrons from a high electrical potential in a circuit to a low potential.  It is probably treated as a fundamental quantitiy based on the principle of electron flow through the conducting material.  Current in and of itself can be made to change, as you have pointed out, and thus be variations on a theme.  Electric current through a defined material, at a certain temperature, with a specified length, will give consistent results each and every time you try it, which would tend to lend itself towards a fundamental definition.  Electricity itself, has a specified rate at which it travels through individual conducting materials, so maybe that is why current is spoken of as a fundamental quantity.  Electricity has been experimented with and known about since antiquity, so maybe this is a carryover from preexistent knowledge and application.

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