Losing Electrons: How Much Energy & Is it Possible?

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In summary, the discussion is about the dominance of gravity between an apple and the Earth due to their electrical neutrality. To have an apple float above the Earth, a large number of electrons would need to be lost by both objects. This would require a significant amount of energy and it is uncertain if it can be accomplished.
  • #1
astroboy17
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The following statement I have found in a book:

Between an apple and the Earth, gravity dominates because both the apple and Earth are electrically neutral, to a high precision. Matter is neutral to a better part than 1 in 10^20 in order for the electric force of repulsion between the apple and Earth to be similar to the gravitational force between them, only 1 atom in 10^20 would have to lose an electron.

So to make an apply about the Earth float, we need them to lose an electron each?

Does this make sense? How much energy does it take to lose an electron, and can
this be accomplished?
 
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  • #2
astroboy17 said:
Between an apple and the Earth, gravity dominates because both the apple and Earth are electrically neutral, to a high precision. Matter is neutral to a better part than 1 in 10^20 in order for the electric force of repulsion between the apple and Earth to be similar to the gravitational force between them, only 1 atom in 10^20 would have to lose an electron.

As I read the quote, it doesn't have the implication you think.

If, for every 10^20 atoms in earth, 1 would need to lose an electron, then to find the number of electrons that would have to be lost by the earth, you need to know the number of atoms in the Earth and divide it by 10^20. Similarly for the apple. Since there are rather a large number of atoms in the earth, and in the apple, that does mean losing a large number of electrons. I've seen the number of atoms estimated at around 10^50, so about 10^30 electrons would have to be lost by the Earth alone. Fewer by the apple, of course. But still, quite a lot.
 
  • #3


I would like to clarify a few points regarding the statement about losing electrons between an apple and the Earth. Firstly, the statement correctly explains that both the apple and Earth are electrically neutral, meaning they have an equal number of protons and electrons. This is why gravity dominates their interaction, as it is a much stronger force compared to the electric force of repulsion.

However, the statement about 1 atom in 10^20 losing an electron to make the apple and Earth's electric forces similar is not entirely accurate. This is because the electric force between two objects depends not only on the number of electrons, but also on the distance between them. So even if 1 atom in 10^20 lost an electron, the electric force between the apple and Earth would still not be comparable to the gravitational force between them.

Moreover, the energy required to remove an electron from an atom, also known as ionization energy, varies depending on the element and its atomic structure. It can range from a few electron volts (eV) to hundreds of thousands of eV. This means that the amount of energy needed to remove an electron from an atom is much greater than the energy required to simply lift an apple off the ground.

In theory, it is possible to remove an electron from an atom and change its overall charge. This process is known as ionization. However, it would require a significant amount of energy and specialized equipment to do so. In the context of the apple and Earth, it is not feasible or necessary to manipulate their charges in order for the apple to float.

In conclusion, while the statement about losing electrons between an apple and the Earth may have some scientific basis, it is important to consider the complexities of electric and gravitational forces and the amount of energy required for ionization. It is not a practical or necessary solution for making an apple float.
 

Related to Losing Electrons: How Much Energy & Is it Possible?

1. What is the process of losing electrons and how does it affect energy?

The process of losing electrons is known as oxidation. When an atom or molecule loses an electron, it becomes positively charged and forms an ion. This process releases energy in the form of heat or light depending on the specific reaction. The amount of energy released depends on the strength of the bond between the electron and the atom or molecule.

2. Can we control the amount of energy released when losing electrons?

Yes, the amount of energy released when losing electrons can be controlled by altering the conditions of the reaction. This can be done by changing the temperature, pressure, or concentration of reactants. Additionally, the type of reactants and the presence of catalysts can also affect the amount of energy released.

3. Is it possible to lose electrons without releasing any energy?

No, losing electrons always results in the release of energy. This is because the process of losing electrons involves breaking chemical bonds, which requires energy. Even if the net change in energy is small, there will still be some energy released in the form of heat or light.

4. How does losing electrons affect the stability of atoms and molecules?

Losing electrons can make atoms and molecules less stable. This is because the loss of an electron changes the balance of positive and negative charges within the atom or molecule, making it more reactive. In some cases, this can lead to the formation of new, more stable compounds. However, in other cases, it can result in the breakdown of the atom or molecule into smaller, more stable components.

5. What are some real-life examples of losing electrons and the resulting energy release?

One common example of losing electrons and releasing energy is the combustion of fuels. In this process, the fuel (such as gasoline) reacts with oxygen and loses electrons, releasing a large amount of energy in the form of heat and light. Another example is the battery, where the chemical reactions involved in charging and discharging involve the gain and loss of electrons, respectively, which produces electricity. Additionally, all forms of cellular respiration in living organisms involve the loss of electrons and the release of energy for cellular processes.

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