Electrostatics

The electrostatics process of lightning!

Introducing Lightning

Lightning was discovered as electricity in 1750 by Benjamin Franklin. It is the most common and powerful exposition of electrostatics in nature.

It is caused by the amount of electrostatic charge that is built up in clouds.

The air currents from the wind cause a separation in the clouds giving it two different regions contained with a negative and positive charge.


The negatively charged region is found at the bottom of the cloud, and the positively charged region is placed at the top of the cloud.

How lightning forms

The negative charges on the bottom of the cloud causes the positive ground to attract.


When the bottom of the cloud accumulates a large amount of electrons, the charges create a large form of attraction between the cloud and the ground, making the cloud move closer toward the ground beneath it. This is called induction.


The negative part of the cloud attracts the positive ions from the ground, and they move toward each other.


As the electrons move closer to the ground, they attract positive ions that rush upward making a connection between the cloud and the ground.

That connection creates a rush of spark which is also known as is lightning.

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Did You Know?

- Every second, there are 50-100 lightning strikes that transpire all around the world. Even if there is absolutely no storm in your sight, somewhere around the world, there is lightning emerging to the ground!


- Lightning strikes are infact very deadly. Thousands of people get assassinated by lightning every year.


- The temperature of a lightning bolt is even hotter than the surface of the sun.


- Thunder is the sound caused by lightning.


- Roy Sullivan is listed as the human that has gotten struck the most times by lightning in the Guinness Book of World Records. He's been hit in 7 different occasions and survived each time!


- A lightning flash is no more than an inch wide.


- Glass is generated when a storm occurs and lightning strikes into sandy soil. You can find strips of glass in the sand after a storm.


- Lightning hits the Empire State Building about 23 times per year.


- You are less likely to get struck by lightning if you are wearing wet clothes.


A visual demonstration of the electrostatics process of lightning

Physics 12.1.6a - Lightning, Part 1

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