# How many electrons are involved in a lightning flash

• Whatupdoc
In summary, a typical lightning flash delivers about 35 coulombs of negative charge from cloud to ground, which is equivalent to -35 electrons.

#### Whatupdoc

A typical lightning flash delivers about 35 C of negative charge from cloud to ground. How many electrons are involved?

Im not extactly sure how to approach this question. it should be an easy one since it's one of the first problems from the book.

Im thinking i might need to use this formula: F = qE

Nope, how much charge does an electron have in coulombs? so if you have 35 coulombs then how many electrons do you have?

nothin to do with forces

$$-1.6 x 10^{-19}$$ electron per coulombs right? so (-1.6 x 10^-19)*35 = $$-56 X 10^{-19}$$

Reality check: how can a lightning flash contain only a tiny fraction of an electron? Think of the electron charge as having units as follows:

$$-1.6 \times 10^{-19} \frac{coulombs}{electron}$$

Now, how should you multiply or divide this with 35 coulombs, in order for the result to have units of "electrons"?

Actually, the total charge really should be given as -35 coulombs. Since the lightning flash is made up of electrons, it has to be negatively charged. That takes care of the other problem with your answer: it gives a negative number of electrons!

## 1. How many electrons are involved in a lightning flash?

The exact number of electrons involved in a lightning flash can vary greatly, but on average, it is estimated to be around 1 billion electrons.

## 2. How is the number of electrons involved in a lightning flash determined?

Scientists use a method called "charge moment analysis" to estimate the number of electrons involved in a lightning flash. This involves measuring the electric current and duration of the flash and using these values to calculate the total charge carried by the lightning bolt.

## 3. Can the number of electrons involved in a lightning flash be too high or too low?

Yes, in rare cases, a lightning flash can involve more or less electrons than the average of 1 billion. This can be influenced by factors such as the strength of the storm and the conductivity of the air.

## 4. Are all the electrons involved in a lightning flash from the cloud?

No, some of the electrons involved in a lightning flash can come from the ground as well. This is known as positive lightning and is less common than negative lightning, which originates from the cloud.

## 5. Is it possible to accurately count the number of electrons involved in a lightning flash?

Due to the unpredictable nature of lightning and the complex processes involved, it is not possible to accurately count the exact number of electrons involved in a lightning flash. However, scientists use various methods and calculations to estimate the number of electrons involved.