Charge Separation by Splashing of Naturally Falling Raindrops

Zev Levin Dept. of Meteorology, University of California at Los Angeles

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Abstract

The charges carried on failing raindrops were measured simultaneously with the charges separated by splashing on solid metal surfaces. It was found that the ejected fragments carry predominantly negative charges leaving the solid surface positively charged. This agreed well with previous results from laboratory experiments, although the magnitude of the charges separated by natural raindrops was found to be smaller than those separated by freshly prepared water samples. The application of these results to the space charge near the ground during rainfall and to the electrification of thunderclouds are discussed.

Abstract

The charges carried on failing raindrops were measured simultaneously with the charges separated by splashing on solid metal surfaces. It was found that the ejected fragments carry predominantly negative charges leaving the solid surface positively charged. This agreed well with previous results from laboratory experiments, although the magnitude of the charges separated by natural raindrops was found to be smaller than those separated by freshly prepared water samples. The application of these results to the space charge near the ground during rainfall and to the electrification of thunderclouds are discussed.

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