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Spark gap ions? Help Please? Answered


I was wondering what kind of ions are emitted from a spark gap when in use? I have seen alot about negative ions and positive ions, but could someone shed some light on this?

Also, how harmful are these ions to the body and what exactly are they made of?


ANY sources that help explain this will also be appreciated!


6 Replies

BurfBest Answer (author)2011-01-27

An ion is either a negatively or positively charged molecule or atom.
A spark gap or electrical arc can only affect those molecules or atoms within its proximity. An electrical spark through a vacuum will not create any ionization except possibly the materials composing the anode and cathode. In air, the usual ions are nitrogen and oxygen ions, in an internal combustion engine, the ions might also include carbon and carbon compounds.
So, the answer to your question is, it depends. It depends on where and what materials are present when the electrical arc occurs. A lightning bolt on earth will create a different set of ions than does a lightning bolt on Jupiter.

Just Google for "What is an ion?" and you'll get more information than you can use.

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Jack A Lopez (author)2011-01-28

If you want to produce ions in air, I think you'll have better luck with a corona discharge than a spark gap discharge.   I'm sorta hoping the links below can explain the difference.


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orksecurity (author)2011-01-27

Mostly you're going to be ionizing the air between the contacts. Exactly which gasses depends on the voltage, but oxygen is typical (hence the smell of ozone from high-voltage electrical equipment).

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Do you think it would be possible to direct this stream of ions between the contacts at a target?

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lemonie (author)transistorguy2011-01-28

One of your contacts would need to be the target for that.


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steveastrouk (author)2011-01-27

Two atoms sitting in a bar, one turns to the other and says "I've lost an electron" and the other says "are you sure ? " and the first atom says "yes, I'm positive"


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