Notices
Results 1 to 11 of 11
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By G O R T

Thread: How ions conduct electricity in air?

  1. #1 How ions conduct electricity in air? 
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    115
    I was reading an article about electric spark and found out that a spark is formed when the electric field strength exceeds the dielectric field strength of air causing an increase of free electrons/ions in the air, which led me to this question, how do ions/free electrons conduct electricity in air?

    And I thought free electrons are quickly bound to other atoms to form an anion?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Posts
    5,608
    I started to answer this and did a quick search to check my facts and found basically what I was trying to say but better! Here it is: HowStuffWorks "Ionization"


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by molecool View Post
    And I thought free electrons are quickly bound to other atoms to form an anion?
    When excitation stops, free electrons bind with cations. Musical chairs.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    115
    Quote Originally Posted by G O R T View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by molecool View Post
    And I thought free electrons are quickly bound to other atoms to form an anion?
    When excitation stops, free electrons bind with cations. Musical chairs.
    What about neutrally charged atoms? Will they bind with them then?

    And I thought when ionization happens the results are usually both negatively and positively charged ions?

    Like, for example water ionizes into a positively charged hydrogen ion and a negatively charged hydroxide ion.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I started to answer this and did a quick search to check my facts and found basically what I was trying to say but better! Here it is: HowStuffWorks "Ionization"
    Sooo... the sudden flow of electricity is caused by the liberated electrons or the positively charged ions?
    Last edited by molecool; April 11th, 2014 at 10:24 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Posts
    5,608
    Quote Originally Posted by molecool View Post
    Sooo... the sudden flow of electricity is caused by the liberated electrons or the positively charged ions?
    They will both move under the effect of the electric field and so will both carry an electric current (which is the flow of electric charge).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    115
    The positive ions will move to the negatively charged field while electrons will move to the positively charged field?

    BTW, the flow of charges in water is different from in air right?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Posts
    236
    There is such a thing as an "Ion mobility spectrometer". It's similar to a time-of-flight mass spectrometer except that the ions drift through a gas such as nitrogen at normal atmospheric pressure, rather than a vacuum, under the action of an electric field. Both positively charged ions and electrons can drift through the gas for about half a meter at least. (Half a meter was the length of the ion mobility spectrometer that I have encountered. Possibly they could drift larger distances) In the equipment I refer to, the sample molecules were ionized by a pulsed laser, but other forms of ionization could be used.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by molecool View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by G O R T View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by molecool View Post
    And I thought free electrons are quickly bound to other atoms to form an anion?
    When excitation stops, free electrons bind with cations. Musical chairs.
    What about neutrally charged atoms? Will they bind with them then?

    And I thought when ionization happens the results are usually both negatively and positively charged ions?

    Like, for example water ionizes into a positively charged hydrogen ion and a negatively charged hydroxide ion.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I started to answer this and did a quick search to check my facts and found basically what I was trying to say but better! Here it is: HowStuffWorks "Ionization"
    Sooo... the sudden flow of electricity is caused by the liberated electrons or the positively charged ions?
    In air, an electric field creates plasma during a spark. The molecules become very hot and electrons are torn off by the electric field. N2 and O2 lose electrons and cations are created. Some cations are stressed enough to un-bond into N and O. Electrons move with the field to the next cation over (that they come into contact with) and are repeatedly torn back off creating current. This is similar to current flow in a conductor.

    In extreme energies the electrons and cations actually travel in isolation creating current. Aurora Borealis is caused by such streams coming off of the sun and channeled by the Earths magnetic field.

    When the cause of a localized plasma ceases (the spark stops), the electrons and cations pair back up to become neutral again as best they can (musical chairs). Due to contaminates in the air (CO2 ad H2O) and from solid sparking surfaces (metal, rock, organic material) a number of odd molecules can result.

    When a field does not cause plasma, with an ion generator for instance, electrons are forced into neutral air and many bind to create anions which just drift about till they happen upon an atom to lose the electron to. This is static electricity. Cations exist on the solid surface from where the electrons were removed. In the ion generator, those cations are neutralized by electrons coming from an earth ground conductor.

    In water there are almost always free ions about that can support current flow at low energies. Water must be deionized for a field to build up sufficient energy to produce plasma.
    molecool likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    115
    Quote Originally Posted by G O R T View Post
    In water there are almost always free ions about that can support current flow at low energies. Water must be deionized for a field to build up sufficient energy to produce plasma.
    Wait, I thought the flow of electricity in water is caused by chemical reactions instead because electrons can't just flow through water?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Posts
    5,608
    Current flow is a movement of CHARGE, (did you read post #5 or the link I gave). Ions are charged so their motion produces a current.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    115
    Oh yes haha.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. Hybrid Automobile, with Two Propulsions of Electricity and Compressed-air
    By mansouryar in forum Electrical and Electronics
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: October 28th, 2011, 06:10 PM
  2. Scheme to 'pull electricity from the air'
    By x(x-y) in forum Environmental Issues
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: August 27th, 2010, 03:44 PM
  3. cells that conduct electricity
    By gib65 in forum Biology
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: September 26th, 2009, 10:33 AM
  4. Replies: 3
    Last Post: December 24th, 2008, 08:26 AM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: July 1st, 2007, 12:02 PM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •