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Is it possible: ionizing atoms in free-air

  1. Oct 21, 2010 #1
    Alright heres a question for everyone that has some input. Can we ionize atoms, say hydrogen, in free air? This is hard to explain, but can we make plasma in the regular atmosphere? Thats the only way I can word it. So is it possible?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2010 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Gaseous hydrogen is not in the form of atoms, it is in diatomic molecules.

    There is almost no hydrogen in atmosphere.

    Finally - yes, it is possible to make plasma in atmosphere. You have seen it many times.

    thunderstorm1.jpg
     
  4. Oct 21, 2010 #3
    Top physicists are able to create high enough voltages to ionize air simply by padding around in their socks on the carpet in the dry winter air, then touching a grounded conductor.
     
  5. Oct 21, 2010 #4
    So how many volts will it take to ionize air.
     
  6. Oct 21, 2010 #5
    An electric field strength of about three million volts per metre.
     
  7. Oct 21, 2010 #6

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Which means single volts will be sufficient if the gap is thin enough.
     
  8. Oct 21, 2010 #7
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