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Proton electricity Possibly alternative power source?

  1. Jan 14, 2005 #1
    The other day I was reading and the article I was reading mentioned positive current AKA proton current. ( Can't remember if it was a periodical or Quantum mechanics book...)

    Would this be the same as normal electron current? How would you create a potential diffrence if not the same way...? Since this would be an isotope of Hydrogen could it be a possible alternative power source? (not burning the hyrogen but making an appliance or power grid using positive current). And finnaly is there any research regarding this or applications?

    Or Am I just plain wrong about the idea? :biggrin:
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2005 #2


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    I have no idea how that would work. Electrons are very promiscuous particles, leaping from atom to atom without any sense of loyalty or self respect. Protons, however, are very puritanical and extremely monogamous. Tawdry acts such as nucleus swapping parties generally are not tolerated without severe consequences.
  4. Jan 14, 2005 #3


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    Most batteries (and fuel cells) already do this or something similar: while electrons flow through the wire, protons (or other positive ions) travel around inside the battery (through a membrane, dissolving or coming out of solution, etc.) - but since it involves moving entire atoms, it won't work for anything other than the inside of a storage device.
  5. Jan 14, 2005 #4


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    Since the proton is roughly 1800 times more massive than the electron, yet carries the same charge, it would be far less efficient to push around protons. Of course, if you attempt to push protons in one direction, you'll also encourage electrons to go the other; since electrons are much less massive, you'd have a hard time keeping them put.

    Another kind of "positive current" exists in semiconductors. This positive current does not involve the motion of protons; instead, it involves the motion of "holes" amid a sea of electrons. It turns out that a hole in an electron sea behaves very much like a real positive particle, but without the burden of the proton's mass. In a semiconductor, hole current and electron current are both equally viable methods of conveying charge.

    - Warren
  6. Jan 14, 2005 #5
    Well the mobility of electrons is inversely proportional to mass...not sure about protons, but I imagine they follow the same rule, as given by the free electron model:

    [tex]\mu_e = \frac {e \tau} {m_e}[/tex]

    So you can see, if the mass is higher, the mobility is reduced.

    And the related conductivity:
    [tex]\sigma = n e \mu_e[/tex]

    Although come to think of it, protons are +ve charge, and in your typical situation bound within a massive nucleus. So the problem is far more complex. And the mobility of the protons will be very very small.

    In the majority of situations, protons are part of a nucleus, which is part of a crystal, and therefore they have fixed lattice points.
  7. Jan 14, 2005 #6
    Well, it could also be a positron current. This is a relatively new emerging application. Talk about a table-top source has made some news. I'm interested if anyone knows about their commercial availability.
  8. Jan 14, 2005 #7


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    Chronos...just a question. Are you in particle physics, and for how long have you been working in the field? Have you seen a psychiatrist about your tendency to anthropomorphize subatomic particles and accuse them of debauchery?

    :tongue2: :rofl: :biggrin:
  9. Jan 14, 2005 #8


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    Yeah, I'm wondering if he went to the pet sematary with flowers when Schrödinger killed his cat ? :tongue2:
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