When electrons or other charge carriers flow through a conductor, they move through the lattice and pass close to the atoms of the conductor. They may actually collide with them or at least lose energy to them when they come within range of the electrical fields around the atoms or their nuclei. Whatever happens, the electrons lose energy. We say that the conductor offers resistance to the flow of current.

At the same time as the electrons lose energy, the atoms of the conductor gain energy. The effect of gaining energy is usually to make the atoms vibrate slightly about their usual fixed positions in the lattice. The motion of one atom is transferred to other atoms in the lattice, so that all of the atoms are in slight motion. This ...

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