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Q & A: Why dipole moment always from negative to positive charge?

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Most recent answer: 06/23/2015
why the direction of dipole moment is always taken from negative charge towards positive charge?
- sunil rath (age 18)

Such labellings are usually arbitrary: if you want, you could always define it the other way around. But every single formula (energy, torque...) will also change accordingly. Due its obvious high burden, what contemporary scientists do is to stick with the majority of the literature. Sometimes the conventions may turn out not to be the best choices though, but sticking to them may be still more convenient. An example of this is electromagnetic theory. By the time it became obvious that charge carriers in metals are electrons, EMT had been already worked out so thoroughly, that you still take the direction of the current as direction of some positive charges (which is not true for a normal metal, although it can be a good description of current in some salt solutions).


(published on 06/23/2015)

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