continuity equation

The continuity equation of the current is based on the principle of conservation of charge that is  the charge can neither be created not destroyed.

consider a closed surface S with a current density , then the total current I crossing the surface S is given by the volume V

The current coming out of the closed surface is 

since the direction of current is in the direction of positive charges, positive charges also move out of the surface because of the current I.

According to principle of conversation of charge, there must be decrease of an equal amount of positive charge inside the closed surface.

therefore the time rate of decrease of charge with in a given volume must be equal to the net outward current flow through the closed surface of the volume.

By Divergence theorem 


for a constant surface the derivative becomes the partial derivative 

   -this is for the whole volume.

for a differential volume 

 , which is called as continuity of current equation (or) Point form (or) differential form of the continuity equation.

This equation is derived based on the principle of conservation charge states that there can be no accumulation of charge at any point.

for steady  (dc) currents      

from . The total charge leaving a volume is the same as total charge entering it. Kirchhoff’s law follows this equation.

This continuity equation states that the current (or) the charge per second, diverging from a small volume per unit volume is equal to the time rate of decrease of charge per unit volume at every point.


Author: Lakshmi Prasanna Ponnala

Completed M.Tech in Digital Electronics and Communication Systems.

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