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Stripping Electrons

  1. Apr 30, 2008 #1
    Imagine charging up two conducting plates, placed nowhere near each other in an open air, to several hundred thousand kiloVolts. Can the positive plate strips off electrons from the air molecules and thus ionizing them without any event of electrical sparks between the two plates?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2008 #2


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    That is just how a spark occurs, by discharge through the ionized air.
  4. May 2, 2008 #3

    I may be going out of my place by making this my first post, but here goes. Please correct me if I am incorrect or my statements could be better said another way.

    You will still have charge carries near the positive plate, in this they are the ions left over.
    Your post made me think of a corona discharge, which most people would not call a 'spark' , but there is still a current flowing, although it is small relative to a full blown arc.
  5. May 2, 2008 #4
    Sorry, that was just a very quick reply, and I don't seem able to edit it.

    It would be technically possible for a charged plate to ionize air without a spark between the plates, provided that the air has a charge relative to the plate and that the potential is not enough for a full breakdown between the two plates.

    Again, I wish for corrections if I have stated something incorrect, and I do apologize if this explanation is way too simple.
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