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Re: [Phys-L] "Electric current" does not mean "electron flow"

On 12/23/2012 03:53 AM, Chuck Britton wrote:
Thanks for the Question. NOW I know what to do with the next burned-out 500 W halogen bulb that comes my way.

The traditional test is to wrap a 120 VAC cord around each end of the glass rod and torch the middle thereof until the self-heating takes over.

'Twill be fun to try with the fused quartz tube.

If the goal is to demonstrate a current that is not just electrons,
aren't there better examples?

1) Electrolysis cells. My father showed me how to make such things
when I was about six years old. Safer and easier than molten quartz.

Assuming the goal is production of hydrogen and oxygen, I recommend
using NaOH as the electrolyte, rather than any acid or salt. This
cuts down on the number of goofy side-reactions you need to worry about.
The current will consist of Na+ flowing one way and OH- flowing the
other way.

OTOH if you really want to see protons flowing, use some generic acid
HA as the electrolyte. Then the current will consist of H3O+ flowing
one way and A- flowing the other way. I don't see how this is an
improvement over the NaOH electrolyte, but it is what it is.

Hint: Collect dead computers. The 3.3 volt output of the computer
power supply is a good source of high current at a suitable voltage.

2) The current in the Large Hadron Collider consists of either
protons or fully-stripped lead nuclei ... no electrons anywhere.