# Definition:Electric Current

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## Definition

**Electric current** is the physical process caused by the flow of electrically charged particles, usually electrons.

Thus it is defined as the rate of flow of electric charge:

- $I = \dfrac {\d Q} {\d t}$

It is often treated as a scalar quantity, but more properly it is a vector quantity whose direction is that in which the electrically charged particles are traveling.

### Symbol

The usual symbol used to denote an **electric current** when it is necessary to treat it as a vector quantity is $\mathbf J$.

When only its scalar magnitude is being discussed, the symbol $I$ is usually used.

### Dimension

**Electric current** is one of the fundamental dimensions of physics.

In dimensional analysis it is assigned the symbol $\mathsf I$.

### Units

The SI unit of **electric current** is the ampere $\mathrm A$.

## Sources

- 1970: George Arfken:
*Mathematical Methods for Physicists*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Introduction: Electromagnetic Theory - 1972: George F. Simmons:
*Differential Equations*... (previous) ... (next): $\S 2.13$: Simple Electric Circuits