Does the vacuum of space have finite electrical resistance?by serp777 Tags: electrical, finite, resistance, space, vacuum 

#1
Oct1313, 04:55 PM

P: 50

Air typically has a very high but non zero resistance. Given that air is just a medium, and that space is also just a medium, does the vacuum of space have a fundamental constant of electrical resistance, or is the electrical resistance of space truly infinite? How is this proven one way or the other, or can it even be proved at all realistically? Given that space has charged particles popping in and out of existence, my hypothesis is that space does have a finite value of electrical resistance, although it is extremely high. A high enough voltage could polarize charged particles in space and possibly cause a current to flow.
Assuming you had limitless voltage, could you make any current flow across two points in vacuum space? 



#2
Oct1313, 05:31 PM

Sci Advisor
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#3
Oct1313, 10:16 PM

P: 8

1. With a high enough charge density, virtual electrons can be popped out of the vacuum. The experiment was two nuclei colliding, which popped out electrons.
2. High intensity microwaves will cause arcing in the vacuum; although, the usual photos are in air, which arcs more easily (the electrons are readily available). 



#4
Oct1413, 02:48 AM

HW Helper
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Does the vacuum of space have finite electrical resistance?
If space had infinite electrical resistance, it would be impossible for radio communication to exist between earth and spacecraft. Radio telescopes would be giant hoaxes.




#5
Oct1413, 04:13 AM

P: 853

the thing is maybe with a few hundred volts space really is a perfect insulator but once the voltage goes high enough , or as in your hypothetical example is limitless or infinite a current path can indeed form in a vacuum carried out by electrons as they can form a current also through vacuum , hence why Nugatory suggested for googling vacuum tube.
remember that not the actual electrons are the first one to make the connection but the field , in this case the electric field which can go through space and indeed does so and attracts oppositely charged particles. 



#6
Oct1413, 11:14 AM

P: 15

A true vacuum would have infinite electrical resistance because there is nothing to carry the current. Even interstellar space is far from a true vacuum though.




#7
Oct1413, 12:49 PM

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#8
Oct1413, 01:19 PM

P: 1,269

That's clearly an absurdly large electric field. 


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