Drift Velocity (with current and conductor section area)


The drift velocity is the average velocity that a particle, such as an electron, attains in a material due to an electric field. It can also be referred to as axial drift velocity. In general, an electron will propagate randomly in a conductor at the Fermi velocity. An applied electric field will give this random motion a small net flow velocity in one direction.

In a semiconductor, the two main carrier scattering mechanisms are ionized impurity scattering and lattice scattering.

Because current is proportional to drift velocity, which in a resistive material is, in turn, proportional to the magnitude of an external electric field, Ohm’s law can be explained in terms of drift velocity.

The formula for evaluating the drift velocity of charge carriers in a material of constant cross-sectional area is given by the formula shown here.

Related formulas


udriftdrift velocity (m/s)
Icurrent (A)
ncharge-carrier number density (m-3)
Across sectional area of the conductor (m2)
qcharge on the charge-carrier (coulomb)