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Brian Gaff \(Sofa\) Brian Gaff \(Sofa\) is offline
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Default conduction

Oh, dear, and I avoided that pun deliberately.
I used to play with transformers and transistor multivibrators when I was
in my teens and was quite surprised just how easy it was to break down air
to make some nice sparks off of, for example an old speaker transformer
wired backwards, a few diodes and capacitors in a ladder and 1 capacitor
across the lot. Even with no actual spark it fizzed away quite well.

The smell was nice but I'm now told ozone is bad for you, sulk.


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"John Rumm" wrote in message
On 03/06/2021 14:02, williamwright wrote:

If two conductors are merely touched together electricity can flow
between them. That just seems too easy somehow. I mean, just touching?
That's ridiculous. I've always thought that it ought to need more
intimate bonding between conductors for current to flow.

In metals there are usually an abundance of free electrons - these are
very easy to separate from the atom which they orbit, and move to another
one close by. Hence any conductive atom in close proximity can share its
electrons, and allow a current to flow.

Even if the conductors aren't touching, sometimes there's a spark.

Air is an insulator, but it has a breakdown voltage (aka "dielectric
strength") where given enough voltage or "electrical field strength" you
can rip electrons from the atoms, even though they are not usually "free".
The insulator is then said to have become "ionised" and will become
conductive at least while the material remains ionised.

The point at which this happens is an intrinsic property of the material,
but it's also a function of distance distance. For air you need a voltage
difference of around 3kV/mm to cause a breakdown. o to get a spark to jump
a metre you need a megavolt, but only 300V for a tenth of a mm and so on.

Another question. Why do I wonder about such things?

Because you are a bright spark ?



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