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Electrons... To be or not to be...

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

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Electrons... To be or not to be...

Postby Jones » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:36 pm

Is there anything that contains zero electrons?
I know there's neutral, positive, negative... But is there anything with no electrons at all?

Is there a constant flow of electrons in the air, if it's a compound?
What about space?

And considering people are good conductors of electricity are we neutral to one another?

I'm just really curious... I don't know if these are stupid questions or not.
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Postby mith » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:30 pm

Yes, a vacuum contains no electrons. A neutron contains no electrons, a proton contains no electrons.

There is a flow(not constant) of electrons because some atoms will lose and some will gain. This happens in air or any other matter. A vaccuum in space, contains no electrons.

Considering conductance has nothing to do with neutrality, the answer is probably useless.
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Postby Jones » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:36 pm

Well, I understand lightbulbs better now... lol.
I started reading more into the unit I was doing and should have deleted like half of my post, but thanks.
The answer about space is more helpful, I don't know why I didn't realize that before, was.. just wondering, I suppose.

And regardless of if it's useful or not if there is an answer it'd be nice to know it.
Why not, right?
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Postby mith » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:52 pm

If I'm dating a girl, I'd prefer not to know how many other people she's been with.
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Re: Electrons... To be or not to be...

Postby jonmoulton » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:14 pm

The physicists offer a stranger story about the vacuum, where quantum fluctuations cause spontaneous appearance of virtual particles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particles
In particular, scroll down to the section "Manifestations" and see the list item about vacuum polarization, which involves creation and destruction of electron-positron pairs.
See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_production

That level of detail probably didn't make understanding electrons in the everyday environment easier, but it is good to start with some information about the richer story. You can ignore phenomena like these and have a good working model of the world for the purpose of understanding biology.
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Postby Jones » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:24 pm

Mith, there can't be an answer without a question. Don't ask, don't tell.

I said if there's an answer, why not know it. lol

And, thank you very much jonmoulton, that's helpful. :)
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Re: Electrons... To be or not to be...

Postby MichaelXY » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:46 am

I don't think humans are good conductors, who told you they were? They do conduct electricity but this does not imply a good conductor. The skin is actually a high resistance. The voltage drop across the body is rather large due to resistance, since V=IR. That is why we feel quite a jolt when we come in contact with a voltage source, the resistance of our bodies drops voltage which we feel as a big jolt. If we were truely good conductors of electricity then very little voltage would be dropped by our body and we would feel very little jolt when zapped...
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Postby alextemplet » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:20 am

Of course there can be an answer without a question: 42.
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Postby Jones » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:02 am

Why is the skin a high resistance?
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Postby MichaelXY » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:44 am

Just google conductor. And because I said so... :)
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Postby Jones » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:27 pm

I know about conductors, but I don't see why the skin would be that resistant to a current of electricty.
lol, That's why I asked.
But okay, I'll google it.
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Postby mith » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:23 pm

because it's not made of metal and metals are good conductors because of the their free valence electrons and in the case of transition metals, they have a d orbital which also contribute carrier electrons. There's also something about bandgaps being big in insulators which means there are few carriers at room temperature.
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