Welcome to Chemistry Connections, my name is Christopher Sawicki, and I am your host for episode #25. Today I will be discussing the chemistry of lightning.
Segment 1: Introduction to lightning
- Lighting, how lightning is produced and why
- Lighting gives of a smell and color
- Ionization: transfer of electrons to form an ion or from an ion
- Intramolecular forces: attractions between atoms in a molecule
- Intermolecular forces: attractions between entire molecules
Segment 2: The Chemistry Behind lightning
- Water and ice move around in the cloud, ice has a negative charge
- Updrafts and downdrafts in storms cause water molecules to collide which causes electrons to be separated from the molecules and move towards the bottom of the cloud
- Warm updrafts sweep positively charged molecules to the top of the cloud
- Updraft: current of air moving up
- Positive ions move towards the top of the cloud and creates an electric field
- Electrons are attracted to positive charged ions on the ground
- Can contain billions to trillions of electrons
- 1 billion volts of electricity
- Up to 5 billion Joules of energy
- Electrons are attracted to positive charged ions because they want to neutralize themselves.
- Protons move up and meet the electrons as they move down
- As electrons move down through during lightning, they crash into more molecules in the air, creating more ions
- This is why metals attract lightning because it has a sea of electrons and many positive charged ions.
- The smell of thunderstorms is the result of ozone in the air
- As lightning travels down, it splits O2 molecules creating 2 oxygen atoms
- These oxygen atoms then bond with other O2 molecules creating ozone, O3
- Creates a blue-violet color highlighting the lightning bolt
- Electrons form lightning ionize O2 and N2 molecules
- These molecules become excited and take on a different color when in this state
- The electrons in lightning carry heat.
- Lightning can be up to 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Which is 6 times hotter than the sun
- Intramolecular forces
- Air is a poor conductor electricity
- Conductor means it it is easy for electrons to pass through
- Not ionic or metallic, covalent bonds make electrons not as attracted and easily given or pulled off
- Because air is a poor conductor of electricity, there is a greater resistance to the electrons moving through the air, which creates heat, heating up the molecules are the lightning
Segment 3: Personal Connections
- Lightning fascinates me because clouds form seemingly out of nothing, evaporated water and produce lighting bolts with billions of electrons
- Enough electricity and energy to kill people
- 2000 people die a year due to lightning
- Always thought lightning was cool and wanted to know what cause lightning to occur
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Warm Nights by @LakeyInspired