Ohm was led to the conception of this law by assuming that the flow of electricity in a voltaic circuit is similar to the flow of heat by conduction in a rod. Also, his assumptions that the actions of two electrified particles are directly as their distance, and that the electricity is uniformly dense over each cross section of a conducting wire, were directly opposed to the laws and facts well established by Coulomb for statical electricity.Damned theoreticians. Always the same. Always ignoring truth if it doesn't fit the latest theory. Ohm assumed that charge was handed off step by step between the 'particles' in the wire, just as the molecular agitation of heat is handed off from one molecule to another. This led him to view resistance as a sort of velocity measurement:
That is to say, both elements reciprocally change their electric state as long as a difference continues to exist between their electroscopic forces; but this change ceases as soon as they have both attained the same electroscopic force. ... The motion is effected in most bodies so rapidly that we are seldom able to determine its changes at the various places, and on that account we are not in a condition to discover by observation the law according to which they act.If he was observing any delay using the instruments then available, he was probably seeing the result of inductive reactance in a long coil or wire, rather than simple resistance. A low-pass RL filter can easily take a perceptible amount of time to reach full flow. Why did Ohm's bad assumption work? Probably because it wasn't all that bad! I spent much of my life playing and working with electrical stuff: repairing, designing, building, teaching. I used Ohm and his variants and corollaries daily. I always started with the analogy of airflow or waterflow**, in which the electrons pass between the atoms of the metal at a finite speed, while the charge field acts instantly across space. In the end it doesn't matter which of these concepts is treated as a finite velocity. Polistra and Happystar try to see Ohm's original view, using a couple of experiments. First Polistra shows heat conduction in a rod. She puts the rod onto a 'potential difference' between cold and hot, and watches the different molecular agitations transfer at a finite speed, until the rod is at a uniform temperature. Now Happystar applies the same concept to a (non-factual!) electric circuit, perhaps as Ohm imagined it. Using an Edison iron-nickel battery to create a potential difference, he drops a wire onto the negative end to complete the circuit. The charges transfer at a finite speed toward the center of the resistive load, until the load is at a uniform current. = = = = = Footnote: **Airflow and waterflow: See my AUDIN courseware, lesson 201, for an example. Also, the battery, pulsing wires and 'resistive block' are available in my ShareCG page. = = = = = END REPRINT.
The current icon shows Polistra using a Personal Equation Machine.