- A model which facilitates the intuitive understanding of the manner in which electricity flows. In it, comparisons are made between the flow of water in a pipe or hose, and the flow of electric current through conductors. For example, water flows from a tank which is higher than another tank, the same way current flows from a point with a higher potential to that with a lower potential. The greater the difference in height between the tanks, the greater the flow, similar to the manner in which a greater potential difference produces an increased current flow. The thinner the pipe, the more restricted the water flow, analogous to the manner in which a thinner conductor has more resistance, among other examples. Of course, there are many other variables to consider, such as the differences in the resistance of dissimilar conductors leading to different rates of current flow, or the fact that electricity will not flow without a complete circuit path while water can simply fall from a hose onto a puddle, and so on. Thus, the analogy is not completely accurate, but is still helpful. Also called water model.
- synonymwater model