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Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
I know what an ion is, I'm the one who caught you on that. I'm also aware that it isn't ions with more electrons that are supplying this positive charge leader that I'm confused about.


You didn't catch me on anything, it's exactly what I said it is. O_o

The answer to your above question is raw energy developed from a static charge built up between the water molecules in the cloud.


It builds up a potential difference I.E. a voltage, through friction and therefore gives you your "positive charge leader".

It's just a potential difference, that's all static electricity results from.
The leader comes out of the ground, not the sky. Yes, I understand how lightning forms via friction, I don't understand how positive charges come up out of the ground.


Again, there is a potential difference.

The best way to put it is that the clouds produce an attraction and that's how the ground shoots up it's stuff.



Also there's such thing as positive lightning.

It's rare but it operates on the same concept of building up an attractive charge which then attracts the stuff.
Positive lightning makes even less sense to me. I would imagine, once again, that the mass of the positive particles would call for the negative forces to move outward with much higher priority as they have less resistance.


Right, which makes positive lighting significantly more dangerous as it carries a lot more power.

"The largest-scale sparks are those produced naturally by lightning. An average bolt of negative lightning carries a current of 30 to 50 kiloamperes, transfers a charge of 5 coulombs, and dissipates 500 megajoules of energy (enough to light a 100-watt light bulb for approximately 2 months). However, an average bolt of positive lightning (from the top of a thunderstorm) may carry a current of 300 to 500 kiloamperes, transfer a charge of up to 300 coulombs, have a potential difference up to 1 gigavolt (a billion volts), and may dissipate enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for up to 95 years. A negative lightning stroke typically lasts for only tens of microseconds, but multiple strikes are common. A positive lightning stroke is typically a single event. However, the larger peak current may flow for hundreds of milliseconds, making it considerably hotter and more dangerous than negative lightning."
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1


You didn't catch me on anything, it's exactly what I said it is. O_o

The answer to your above question is raw energy developed from a static charge built up between the water molecules in the cloud.


It builds up a potential difference I.E. a voltage, through friction and therefore gives you your "positive charge leader".

It's just a potential difference, that's all static electricity results from.
The leader comes out of the ground, not the sky. Yes, I understand how lightning forms via friction, I don't understand how positive charges come up out of the ground.


Again, there is a potential difference.

The best way to put it is that the clouds produce an attraction and that's how the ground shoots up it's stuff.



Also there's such thing as positive lightning.

It's rare but it operates on the same concept of building up an attractive charge which then attracts the stuff.
Positive lightning makes even less sense to me. I would imagine, once again, that the mass of the positive particles would call for the negative forces to move outward with much higher priority as they have less resistance.


Right, which makes positive lighting significantly more dangerous as it carries a lot more power.
From what I understand, it carries a higher voltage, it isn't the mass that causes the danger, it's the sheer amount of particles moving, which is stupendous considering how powerful a negative charge would have to be to attract all of this positive energy, but somehow NOT be fired off in it's direction.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1


You didn't catch me on anything, it's exactly what I said it is. O_o

The answer to your above question is raw energy developed from a static charge built up between the water molecules in the cloud.


It builds up a potential difference I.E. a voltage, through friction and therefore gives you your "positive charge leader".

It's just a potential difference, that's all static electricity results from.
The leader comes out of the ground, not the sky. Yes, I understand how lightning forms via friction, I don't understand how positive charges come up out of the ground.


Again, there is a potential difference.

The best way to put it is that the clouds produce an attraction and that's how the ground shoots up it's stuff.



Also there's such thing as positive lightning.

It's rare but it operates on the same concept of building up an attractive charge which then attracts the stuff.
Positive lightning makes even less sense to me. I would imagine, once again, that the mass of the positive particles would call for the negative forces to move outward with much higher priority as they have less resistance.


Right, which makes positive lighting significantly more dangerous as it carries a lot more power.
From what I understand, it carries a higher voltage, it isn't the mass that causes the danger, it's the sheer amount of particles moving, which is stupendous considering how powerful a negative charge would have to be to attract all of this positive energy, but somehow NOT be fired off in it's direction.

Mhhm.
Lightning occurs when the cloud creates a separation of charge: the bottom of the cloud has a negative charge (extra electrons) and the top of the cloud expels positive charges into the atmosphere above. As a result, the cloud has an extra electrical charge on the underside when compared to the top of the cloud, which it dispels down to earth in a series of positive electrical pulses known as "steps". The trail they create whilst pulsing down is known as a "step leader" which gets ionised by the pulses, creating a path of electrical conductivity superior to the surrounding areas.

When the step leader (which is practically invisible) touches the earth. it creates a a conducting wire of air allowing the charge to flow. The first charges to flow originate from the ground, so the visible lightning bolt shoots up along the conducting path back to the cloud. The charge produces a lot of heat that causes air to expand, thus generating a thunderclap. Often, the charge will flow up and down multiple times.
I'll show you:



It sends out masses of negativlye charged groups, they bounce around the different pathways availabel to them considering airflow, air density, charge potential in the air, and such. Once one lead finds it's way to the ground (or some conductor better than air), then all charge receads from all branches and flows directly into the main trunk. The charge looks like it's coming form the ground, because in that instant the entire capacitor is essentially neutralizing out.

I think that's how it works anyways.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/lightning.htm

I dont think i can get more simple then "how stuff works"
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

DXnobodyX
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/lightning.htm

I dont think i can get more simple then "how stuff works"
I checked how stuff works before. I couldn't find any information on how the leaders work. Once it got to that point, the only information it seemed to have is "it just does."
Avgvsto's avatar

Anxious Knight

False Dichotomy
Electricity confuses the hell out of me.
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

Avgvsto
False Dichotomy
Electricity confuses the hell out of me.
I... kind of understand how it works? I understand oxidation/reduction properties, and the movement of electrons to reach stability. I just don't specifically understand lightning because it doesn't seem to be as simple as that.
Avgvsto's avatar

Anxious Knight

False Dichotomy
Avgvsto
False Dichotomy
Electricity confuses the hell out of me.
I... kind of understand how it works? I understand oxidation/reduction properties, and the movement of electrons to reach stability. I just don't specifically understand lightning because it doesn't seem to be as simple as that.
Nah the concept is kind of simple but the actual process is really weird. Also, I never understood why people use such odd words to describe it, it's pretty easy to get lost in translation.
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Ok, heres how I think you could understand it better.

Electrons weigh less, it's easier for them to move down, than protons to move up.

They try to reach the protons on the ground, they are smaller so its easier to move them downward, even though their charges are equal and opposite they do weigh less.

The line of electrons is a higher conductivity, its basically a wire without the metal, just the electrons. But it can't conduct electricity through the air, so this wire of cloud has to touch the ground before it can conduct electricity.

The electricity moves upward, because theres ALOT more electrons where that came from it'd be faster to restore balance by moving the protons upward, especially since theres a proper conductivity now.

I got this from watching that video of lightning in super slow motion, for like 20 seconds with the audio off.

But I did have to think about it a little more to address the issue you had with the other people's explanations. But sorry if Im too late or if this doesn't help.

EDIT: I fail because although protons weigh more they dont have more of a positive charge so it wouldnt make sense for them to go upward, but perhaps the ground has alot of spare protons more than the clouds have spare electrons so its easier for them to give the protons. Though she did say they both move back and for several times, perhaps it is oscilating or whatever til it reaches equilibrium, like a marble sliding back and forth until it settles into a nook on the ground. Only the electrons had to make the first move so the protons would have the larger second move. Like lifting a swing high slowly and letting go and it drops fast, and moves back and forth til it stands still.
False Dichotomy
DXnobodyX
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/lightning.htm

I dont think i can get more simple then "how stuff works"
I checked how stuff works before. I couldn't find any information on how the leaders work. Once it got to that point, the only information it seemed to have is "it just does."

The only information it has is

howstuffworks
The step leaders propagate toward the earth in stages, which do not have to result in a straight line to the earth. The air may not ionize equally in all directions. Dust or impurities (any object) in the air may cause the air to break down more easily in one direction, giving a better chance that the step leader will reach the earth faster in that direction. Also, the shape of the electric field can greatly affect the ionization path.


Path of least resistance like all ionisation events, also seen in cascade radiation detectors etc.
well, i had no idea that is how lightning worked, but i would say that the ionized particles in the cloud react with maybe ionized particles in the ground, so then they go and attract to esch other and make a flash of enormous energy. but in the way i learned the ionized particles in the cloud are looking for the best way to the ground, so they go to the ground!
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

Lightning happens by accident, most lightning is shot around in between clouds anyways.

It's not like it tries to make lightning, just some of the time when there's a lot of movement things just fall that way.


The best way to think of it is when there are electrons free there is a negative charge.

This negative charge in turns attracts the positive charge and vice versa and they go to each other rather rapidly, which results in a large electrical arc, which is lightning.


Clearly, all matter has protons and electrons.

So sense we may consider that neutral, it takes an opposite charge of any kind to attract something, which is why magnets, on the positive or negative side, can attract steel without much resistance unless it was given a charge beforehand.


If you had a giant magnet, and say the "positive" side facing the ground, and it picked up a paper clip, then it wouldn't really matter if the steel had a negative charge or not, sense it technically has the potential for both.

Just by having such a large charge something that was seemingly neutral was attracted- in the same way, the ground has both a negative and positive charge, it's just the charge you build up in the cloud that matters. There is a potential positive or negative "leader" there the whole time. But it's not going to do anything unless an extremely powerful charge of some kind is given, such as by the clouds.

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