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Electric Dipole / Air Ionization

  1. Jul 31, 2010 #1
    I have an electrodynamics question stemming from a recent episode of the game show "1 vs 100" in which I disagreed with the show's answer.

    The question is: "You touch your grandma's elbow and feel a spark. What do you have an excess build-up of, besides shame?"

    Answer choices were: A-protons, B-neutrons, C-electrons.

    The correct answer, according to the show is C, electrons.

    I however feel A, protons, is a more appropriate answer. If you consider an electric dipole, with equal and opposite charges q+ and q-, then their electric dipole moment, a vector quantity, is commonly defined as the product of the charge q and distance, d, between the two charges pointing in the direction of the positive charge. This would suggest the electric field lines point towards the positive charge, in this case excess protons. The only flaw I can see in this logic is what creates the actual "shock." I am assuming the shock occurs at the positive charge. (Although, from personal experience I recall both people receiving a shock, which complicates the question as either A or C could be correct.)

    Could this possibly be the fault in my logic? Perhaps the shock is actually the result of the electrons ionization with the air molecules.. which would explain answer C...

    Thanks for any insight, explanation or debate.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2010 #2
    In normal condition, how can you have a free proton? Electron, proton, neutron exist in our body in the form of molecular. Therefore, I think the only dipole we may have is induced dipole, which is created only by outer field.

    Moreover, spark is something like current, and current is the flow of electric charge (electron or hole). In this case, hole cant be an answer.
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