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Why does voltage drop but current continues to flow after an electric charge is passed through a circuit component?

Physics Asked by TMax on August 15, 2020

I’ve been reading about why voltage drop occurs and that electrical potential energy supplied to an electrical charge is lost after work is done, but my question is that after this potential energy is lost, how does current continue to flow without this potential energy pushing it?

For example, $12V$ are applied to a light bulb circuit and after the current passes through the light bulb $0V$ would be measured on the other end but the current would continue to flow back to Earth, how does it flow with $0V$?

One Answer

The voltage is not $0$ V at the other side of the bulb. It's only $0$ at the final return point to your voltage source (e.g. battery). The wire between the bulb and the battery's 'return' post has a small but measurable resistance, and there is a small but measurable voltage difference between the lightbulb's low side and the reference point at the battery.

Correct answer by Carl Witthoft on August 15, 2020

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