Taking all the electrons away from a real conductor

In summary, the number of electrons that can be removed from a solid substance before it breaks down at a chemical level depends on various factors, such as the material's ability to tolerate a loss of charge and the potential effects on its chemical bonds. However, long before reaching a point of chemical breakdown, the material may emit atoms or even explode due to a large charge buildup. For molecules like water, the number of electrons that can be stripped before chemical breakdown also depends on various factors, including the method of stripping and the chemical surroundings. Interestingly, heavily ionizing an atom can even influence its nuclear properties.
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FortranMan
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How many electrons can you remove from a solid substance before it breaks down at a chemical level?
How many electrons can you remove from a solid substance before it breaks down at a chemical level?

Thinking this through myself, you can create positively or negatively charged objects to a degree, especially with a metallic conductor that can tolerate a loss of charge at the cost of the entire conductor becoming slightly charged at its surface. However how long can we keep emptying a conductor of electrons? Will electrons in their valence band become excited and jump into the conductor band, allowing us to strip more electrons from the conductor? But as valence electrons are critical for determining the chemical behavior of elements, would this adversely affect the chemical bonds holding the conductor together? As a side question, how many electrons can you strip from a molecule like water before it chemically breaks down as there are no electrons available to form covalent bonds? Is this a complex question, too abstract, or is it easily studied experimentally by observing the dielectric breakdown strengths of different materials?
 
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Long before you get chemical effects the charge will be so large that the material emits atoms from the surface, or the whole material explodes: A Coulomb explosion. This is routinely done with lasers.
 
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FortranMan said:
As a side question, how many electrons can you strip from a molecule like water before it chemically breaks down as there are no electrons available to form covalent bonds?
That depends on various factors like how you strip those electrons and the chemical surroundings.

An interesting curiosity: if you heavily ionize an atom you can actually influence some nuclear properties like the decay constant. For example, a stable isotope of K (potassium) was successfully forced to ##\beta^{-}##-decay after full ionization in order to fill the first orbital.
 

1. What happens when all the electrons are taken away from a real conductor?

When all the electrons are taken away from a real conductor, it becomes positively charged. This is because the protons in the nucleus of the atoms are no longer balanced by an equal number of electrons, resulting in a net positive charge.

2. Can all the electrons be completely removed from a real conductor?

No, it is not possible to completely remove all the electrons from a real conductor. This is because the atoms in the conductor will always have a certain number of electrons, and it is impossible to remove all of them without completely destroying the structure of the material.

3. How does taking away all the electrons affect the properties of a real conductor?

Taking away all the electrons from a real conductor can drastically change its properties. It can become more brittle, lose its ability to conduct electricity, and even change color. This is because the balance of charges within the material is disrupted, causing changes in its physical and chemical properties.

4. Is it dangerous to remove all the electrons from a real conductor?

Removing all the electrons from a real conductor can be dangerous, especially if it is a large conductor. This is because the positive charge that is created can attract other charged particles, leading to sparks and potential electrical hazards.

5. Can taking away all the electrons from a real conductor cause permanent damage?

Yes, taking away all the electrons from a real conductor can cause permanent damage. This is because the removal of electrons can alter the structure and properties of the material, making it difficult or impossible to restore it to its original state.

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