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Author Topic: Can our theory of electricity be confusing our understanding of lightning?  (Read 655 times)

Offline Qurius

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Is it possible that the theory of electricity (which is admittedly backwards) has inhibited the understanding of how lightning works?

Descriptions about lightning always talk about how a “positive charge” moves from ground to cloud (negative lightning) or cloud to ground (positive lightning). It is noticed that “positive lightning” is much stronger than the more common “negative lightning”, but it is (last I heard) not very well understood.

Instead of “imagining” positive charges doing the moving, the fact is that it is electrons that are really moving from clouds to ground (negative lightning) or ground to clouds (positive lightning). It is obvious that an accumulation of electrons in clouds moving to ground is far weaker than an accumulation of electrons in the earth moving to the clouds. Simply, there are infinitely more electrons available in the earth than there are in water vapor thousands of feet above the ground.

This also explains the nature of sprites, etc. The momentum of the electrons coming up from the earth carries them into space where they interact with other parts of the atmosphere and the earth's electromagnetic fields.

I appreciate any clarification of my misunderstanding.

Thank you.


 

Offline Colin2B

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Welcome to the forum
Talking about charge is an important concept as it covers not only electrons but also +ve & -ve ions. In a storm cloud the electrons are stripped from atoms leaving +ve ions which tend to accumulate at the top of a cloud and these are responsible for the +ve lightning - very powerful, about 5% of strikes, and tend to be at the peak or end of a storm. Electrons and -ve ions accumulate at the bottom of the cloud and are responsible for what is commonly known as -ve lightning (the standard everyday lightning).
It is the reasons why the charges separate like this that isn't fully understood.
Sorry, I'm a bit rushed so don't have time for more complete discussion.
 

Offline Thebox

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Is it possible that the theory of electricity (which is admittedly backwards) has inhibited the understanding of how lightning works?

Descriptions about lightning always talk about how a “positive charge” moves from ground to cloud (negative lightning) or cloud to ground (positive lightning). It is noticed that “positive lightning” is much stronger than the more common “negative lightning”, but it is (last I heard) not very well understood.

Instead of “imagining” positive charges doing the moving, the fact is that it is electrons that are really moving from clouds to ground (negative lightning) or ground to clouds (positive lightning). It is obvious that an accumulation of electrons in clouds moving to ground is far weaker than an accumulation of electrons in the earth moving to the clouds. Simply, there are infinitely more electrons available in the earth than there are in water vapor thousands of feet above the ground.

This also explains the nature of sprites, etc. The momentum of the electrons coming up from the earth carries them into space where they interact with other parts of the atmosphere and the earth's electromagnetic fields.

I appreciate any clarification of my misunderstanding.

Thank you.

Electricity in the form of house hold use etc, is simply observer effect, we manufacture the product, we make it, there is not that mystery to it.
 

Offline puppypower

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Lighting in storm clouds begins with water. The updrafts and downdrafts in storm clouds causes ice particles to move up and down resulting in positive charge appearing in the cloud. This positive charge is connected to the hydrogen protons of water ; H2O ---->H2O+

The way this charge imbalance is possible is connected to oxygen. Oxygen can hold more electrons that it has positively charged protons in its nucleus. For example, water can form oxide which is O-2. Oxide has two extra electrons compared to nucleus protons of oxygen, yet the two extra electrons don't repel and leave the oxide.

The reason is when electrons are added to orbitals, electrons with opposite spin and opposite direction (current) are magnetically attracted. In the case of oxide, the magnetic attraction, due to filling the 2P orbitals; octet, is stronger than the resultant charge repulsion. If we take two wires with opposite currents the wires will attract even when both currents are electrons; magnetic attraction.

Since the electrostatic force and the magnetic forces are part of one unified force; electromagnetic force or EMF, the magnetic attraction offsets the electron repulsion of oxygen due to the net EMF that results. With the electrons of water held by the oxygen, the hydrogen proton can depart and project net positive charge, The hydrogen protons or H+, does not have the same type of magnetic offset, so a net positive charge appears.

Since the earth has a magnetic iron core, there is a potential between the metallic iron core and oxygen of O2 of the atmosphere. The net earth direction of electron current is from core to atmosphere. The oceans are slightly negative to reflect this. The storm cloud creates a positive EMF face. The electrons go up to neutralize this, while also flowing downward because water can't use them. What does happen is oxygen releases electron density back to the hydrogen and it loses its positive face. Atlas until the next storm.




 
 

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