On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 14:29:33 -0500, you wrote:
>Rather than thinking of lightning as an electrical current flowing from
>ground to cloud or vice versa, I find it more interesting to think about
>what it is composed of: plasma. The free electrons and ions created by the
>plasma must be neutralized by some method. This is where current flow is
>involved. Pick a path and connect via some conductor (tower, copper wire,
>tel wire, power line, water pipe, etc) to facilitate the neutralization. It
>is fairly easy to assume current will travel only one way on the conductor.
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As I understand it, plasma (in the general sense) can exist with or
without current flow. In the absence of external heat, plasma will
quickly recombine into normal atoms, but while it is in the plasma
state, it will conduct much like a wire would.
In the case of lightning, the enormous voltage present rips the air
molecules and atoms apart, creating the plasma, which then provides a
current path for the lightning strike.
If my understanding is wrong, please enlighten.
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