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Physics/new question on HV ions



Hello, please see the picture so that this will make sense.
please tell me what is happening when I have a negative grounded voltage multiplier with an amp-meter on one of its wires (probes) extending from the negative 25kV terminal and the other amp-meter probe from the amp-meter is to a needle in mid air 1m away from nearest grounded conductor, the amp-meter is not grounded. This set-up seems to give me a fair reading of how many amps are going out the terminal needle into the air through the amp-meter. A typical reading is ~0.5 micro-amps.
I am attempting to increase the amount of current going into the air. I have thought of increasing the current into the terminal at the multiplier by having a ground wire near to the terminal of the multiplier before it extends out to the amp-meter. This has given me very high readings; as I had hoped. But I need to know if the theory of this working is sound (as I might just be getting false readings). Please see the picture so that this will make sense. The wire in question is NOT in contact with the HV terminal; it is a distance away (just far enough to make a hissing sound). SO MY QUESTION IS: is it possible that the extra wire in question is allowing more current to flow out the needle electrode?
Thank you,

The circuit diagram is nice, but a little more information about the geometry of this "wire in question" relative to the ammeter is probably necessary.  As it is drawn, it looks like you might have a lot of current coming from the ammeter wire, or perhaps the ammeter itself.  Have you tried putting it close to the "needle" part, so that it is also hissing?  If your goal is high current, then that should do it in a more controllable way.  I'm not sure what the purpose of this air ionizer is, but you might want to consider any possible health effects of having so many free radicals being produced in the air before you proceed to really heavy ionizations.  Heavy ionization can cause things like atomic nitrogen and ozone, which can be harmful in high concentrations (good for sterilizing water, though).


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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