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Electricity (electron flow) 101
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Klatu
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Electricity (electron flow) 101 Reply with quote

Electricity as we commonly understand it is the ability to conduct electrons through a substance at a given rate.
The effects of electron flow are a very interesting subject.

In order to cause this 'flow' effect to occur one must use a substance that permits the passing of electons from one atom to the next until it reaches it's desired destination.
But what causes this effect to happen to begin with?

In electrical engineering terms 'electrical potential' or voltage is an atom or a group of atoms that have their electrons stripped off by some external process or cause. Once in this state the atoms have an affinity to attract electrons from other close proxcimity atoms that have an abundance or over abundance of electons that it will give up without disturbing the donor atoms internal 'balance'.

Atoms that have an equal ratio of protons to electrons are the most stable and are the most difficult to 'borrow' an electron from.
Looking at the peroidic table lead and iron are probably the most stable and would not lend themselves well as a conductor of electrons.
Copper and silver on the other hand would work very well because they have spare electrons that don't require alot of effort to 'borrow'.

When a electrical potential is applied to these types of conductors and connected to a source of 'free' electrons (atoms that have an over abundance of electons) like the earth, electrons from the free source will migrate from one end of the copper/silver (conductor) atoms to the atoms that have had their electrons stripped off until all the stripped atoms have all the electons they need to be stable again. At this point electron migration will stop.

Should the conductor offer no resistance to the electron flow the process of conducting will happen all at once causing a great deal of heat and light in the process of doing so, this defines a short circuit.

Should an appliance be placed inbetween the voltage source and ground (abundance of electrons/earth) we can extract a form of 'work' from the electron flow, either spinning a motor or lighting a bulb etc.

When electron flow (current) occurs in a conductor a magnetic field appears outside of the conductor proportional to the rate of electrons moving through the conductor.

This method of extracting 'work' is the most efficient and the most clean of all other methods available on earth and the most renewable.

But where does the electrical potential come from to begin with?

What force strips the atoms of their electrons?

Why is a magnetic field created just because electons are moving through a conductor?

Aaaah! that's another subject all together, perhaps next.

Any questions?

K
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sb
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 5:30 am    Post subject: zap Reply with quote

Quote: "Should the conductor offer no resistance to the electron flow the process of conducting will happen all at once causing a great deal of heat and light in the process of doing so, this defines a short circuit."

Is lightning a short circuit? Do we know which atoms are having their electrons stolen in the air? Does a lighting strike (how about a steady barrage of them around the world?) change the Earth in anyway? Can lighting happen under any conditions in space that would not involve an atmosphere? If it cannot happen without an atmosphere, does this mean that electrical potential never builds in space or does it just build and build with no where to go? (Sudden vision of lots of car batteries floating around in deep, dark space....)

SB
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sb
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:00 am    Post subject: zap Reply with quote

.....Do you think the tail of a comet is conductive? Theoretically, could lightning hit the tail of a comet that passed by a planet and would the charge rip up the tail like a crazy fuse? That would be wild.

SB
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sb
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject: zap Reply with quote

......and what about inside our heads? Is an electroencephalagram measuring electrons being robbed from atoms inside my head? (Owwww!)

SB
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sb
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:53 am    Post subject: zap Reply with quote

.....Maybe dark energy is electric potential with nowhere to go. (Car battery in space.)

sb
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Klatu
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sb,

Yes, lightnig is a short circuit. There is some resistance offered by the gases in the atmosphere, these gases become so charged they incandese and radiate a radio frequency, the charged gas is called a plasma.

The atoms that have their electrons 'stolen'... actually borrowed, the the atmospheric atoms: nitrogen, oxygen etc.
Lightning has changed the earth considerably if you recall your high school bioscience lightning was a requirement for forming the initial proteins for lifes building blocks.

In the vacuum of space there are no atoms to conduct a charge from point to point so as you have imagined the charge builds to a high voltage
Since orbiting the earth (which has a magnetic field) in a metal craft a voltage will develope on the skin of the craft. The problem comes when two craft wish to dock together after orbiting. Both cratfs are highly charged and need to neutralize the charge between them before docking.

Comet trails are plasma that are charged up by the sun's solar wind. I'm not sure if comets trials are flamable or not.

Our brains are the center of electrical activity. The electric pulses being recorded by an electroencephalagram are chemically produced much like a battery but very short lived.

I have no idea as to what dark energy is, It's pretty hard to get anyone to give a precise definition for it without giving their opinion as to what it might be.

Good questions sb, I believe you have a nack for this!

K
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sb
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:41 am    Post subject: zap Reply with quote

K,

Is there an electrical gradient? Does lightning really come down from the clouds? When two people cross a rug to shake hands and just as their hands touch they both get a sharp jolt of static shock,--which direction did the current flow? Were they both charged up? Did one person have more electrical potential than the other? If two spaceships are both carrying a charge because of their passage through the atmosphere and they do not neutralize the charge before they dock, what direction is the electrical flow? What determines the direction of electrical flow?

Thank you for your indulgence.

SB
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sb,

Gradient is referring to a difference in electrical potenial from one point to the other.
When ever an arc occurs, that is literally a short circuit from a high potential to a lesser potential.
Orbiting crafts have variable levels of potential developing on their outer surfaces, when they neutralize each other on first contact they are only 'shorting' the difference in potential between them. In actuality they both may have several hundred thousand volts of buildup on their surfaces but only the difference is neutralized.
It's the same with people who have a built up charge on them and touch eachother. Should they touch a grounded surface the arc could be much higher because ground has so many available electrons to spare.

As for the direction of travel of, it's always from negative(reserve of electrons.. ground) to positive (atoms that have electrons stripped off).
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sb
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 9:06 am    Post subject: zap Reply with quote

Guest,

Is this person saying the same thing, or something different?

http://www.amasci.com/amateur/elecdir.html

SB
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Guest






PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sb,

Yes, this article is correct and is stating the same thing.

Sorry for not signing in last post.

K
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SB
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 6:40 am    Post subject: commerce and electricity Reply with quote

K,

Kinda sounds like Capitalism, doesn't it?

SB
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D. Rice



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 28
Location: SW Michigan

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:39 pm    Post subject: Re: zap Reply with quote

sb wrote:
Guest,

Is this person saying the same thing, or something different?

http://www.amasci.com/amateur/elecdir.html

SB


I wonder why I can't check out the above site by clicking on it. Fuddy Dud. Dern. Dern. Dern. I'll try to cut-n-paste the url.

Cross my fingers and...
Yea, ok,.. that worked.

I've always been interested in [color=red]Electricity and Magnetism but have always been rather befuddled about what it is. Although I'm still confused about amperage versus voltage versus watts, what the above referenced site said about the word electron sounding very similar to the word electricity, leading most people to formulate a false impression or over-elevated sense of importance for the role of electrons in electricity, cleared up alot for me. I've been assuming this - apparently - exaggerated sense of importance between electrons and electricity from the very begining of my befuddlement. Thanks I guess you could say that I got a real charge (Pun intended) out of your dialog.[/color]

D.
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emrad
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:37 am    Post subject: Zap Reply with quote

Re: lightning
It was while taking a meteorology class that I first posed this question. The instructor did not seem to have an answer. Even the text for the class stated, in so many words, that no one really knows.
You see, it has always intrigued me as to just where the separation of charge responsible for lightning comes from. I had read various other books on meteorology which offered up various theories, most of which seemed to involve the separation of charge somehow being generated within the cloud structure.
At some point, it occurred to me, though, and my question is this: Is it possible that, rather than generating the separation of charge responsible for lightning, thunderclouds merely present themselves as conductive paths between the ground and a charged, upper atmosphere?
Where I have read that a voltage potential is detectable between locations at different altitudes, even on a clear day. And, considering the relatively recent discovery of electrical activity occurring from the tops of thunderstorm clouds in the form of what have been termed "Sprites", and "Jets", it must, in my reasoning, at least for the present time, fall into that category (along with so many other things) as a possibility that should not be ruled out.

emrad
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 6:25 pm    Post subject: Lightning Reply with quote

Emrad,

For the most part that would be a fair assumption and a fine hypothesis if researched properly.
The ionosphere is highly charged by the solar winds where as the earth acts as ground or zero potential. The thunderstorms exists between the two in a pressurized gas (atmosphere)... mostly nitrogen.

If there were no potential difference between the ionosphere and the earth, thunderstorms might not have the ability to separate and store charges as well as they do.
The accepted mechanism for the production of lightning has been static charge by the 'rubbing' of air and water atoms in the clouds.
This action no doubt exists and would account for some of the total power released during a lightning strike. Since in this case there is no potential difference betweeen the earth and the ionosphere, any charge that does develop within the cloud should quickly neutralize or discharge from cloud to cloud.

I think what your leading to is that because of the enormous charged capacitor effect between the earth and the ionosphere that this may allow for higher charges to be stored within the clouds, which inturn would allow for larger lightning bolts as we see today.
In this case the positive ions would be found on the bottom of the thunder cloud (attracted to the earth) the negative charge would be nearer the top of the cloud (attracted to the ionosphere)... opposite of the current thinking.

It would be interesting to find a correllation between an increase in potential of the ionosphere over the last decade and the current weather patterns. If a connection can be made, therein lies the mechanizism for controlling the weather gloabally.
It maybe that the sprites and jets have a discharging effect on the ionosphere and it is therefore a self regulating system.

K
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lg
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 8:08 am    Post subject: question Reply with quote

Okay, my uninformed question:

Could you explain 'plasma' (in re electricity) to me?
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