Which direction does the electrical field point in an electrical arc?

In summary, the direction of the electrical field in an arc between two electrodes is away from the arc, as the electrons move through the air. However, the presence of plasma complicates this explanation. The arc itself also generates a magnetic field in a circular pattern. A wire with current flowing through it also generates an electric field away from its center due to surface charge density.
  • #1
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ok, so I've got an arc between two electrodes. What is the direction of the electrical field if there is an electrical field?
 
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  • #2
it's probably more appropriate to put this in the homework sections. ( since this problem seems purely theoretical and i don't see how you could be dealing with this in real life)

i don't really know, but my guess it away from the arc, since it may be a bunch of electrons moving through air. however, it's probably not so simple since the air turns into plasma.
 
  • #3
Electrons in an arc follow the direction of an electric field.

The electric field is between the two electrodes.
 
  • #4
vk6kro said:
Electrons in an arc follow the direction of an electric field.

The electric field is between the two electrodes.

just out of curiosity, would the arc itself generate a field?
 
  • #5
Yes, but a magnetic field in the form of a circular pattern concentric with the arc. This is no different to a current flowing in a wire.

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  • #6
that was my guess, dvchench, but for what I'm doing i hope vk6kro is right.
 
  • #7
thanks dvchench, that pretty much confirms what i thought.
 
  • #8
...and vk6kro
 
  • #9
doesn't a wire with current flowing through it have a surface charge density along its circumference that generates an e-field away from the center of the wire? can't quite remember that part of EM1 that well... I know that was the basis of most of our image theory problems -- a high-voltage, high-current "power line" above the earth-ground plane generating an E-field.
 

1. What is an electrical arc?

An electrical arc is a phenomenon where an electric current flows through an air gap or other non-conductive medium, creating a bright and visible discharge.

2. How is an electrical arc created?

An electrical arc is created when the voltage between two conductors is high enough to ionize the surrounding air, allowing the electric current to flow through it.

3. What is the e-field in an electrical arc?

The e-field, or electric field, in an electrical arc is the force that drives the electric current through the air. It is created by the difference in voltage between the two conductors.

4. How does the e-field affect an electrical arc?

The e-field plays a crucial role in the formation and behavior of an electrical arc. It determines the strength and direction of the electric current, as well as the shape and intensity of the arc.

5. What are some common applications of electrical arcs?

Electrical arcs have many practical applications, including in welding, cutting, and lighting. They are also used in high-voltage circuit breakers and in some types of scientific research.

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