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

And what about static electricity, an issue I've had issues from lately as
may here know. It is after all the basis of vander graph generators and
windshurst machines, both of which I've built with varying success.
Obviously its those ion imbalances again, but why should friction be the
catalyst? We have all had vinyl records charge up merely by the stylus move
through the groove, indeed on one cartridge it actually tended to flash over
tto a screw at times from the record, or when cassettes are run very fast
there are sparks from the hub to the metal spindle of that hub.


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"williamwright" wrote in message
On 03/06/2021 14:52, John Rumm wrote:
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 ?

Thanks John. A good answer.