Charge generation and separation processes

Y. Yair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a short overview of our current understanding of the generation of charged particles in different environments and circumstances (e.g. thunderclouds, dust storms, volcanic plumes, rings, and planetary surfaces) and the subsequent spatial separation that leads to the formation of electrical fields. Different mechanisms are involved on various scales, starting from the molecular level, through the single particle (droplet, crystal, solid) and finally the entraining volume (cloud, plume etc.). Encapsulated within a dynamic and turbulent medium, particles need to come into contact and to immediately separate, to be later transported away from each other. In order to explain the observed electrical fields and ensuing lightning or other forms of discharge, these processes need to be extremely effective. The section will briefly review laboratory results and modeling efforts of charge separation and electric field build-up in various planetary settings, and cite the appropriate observations of electrical activity on different planets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Breakdown electric field
  • Cloud
  • Deposition
  • Dust
  • Dust devil
  • Electric field
  • Fracto-emission
  • Freezing
  • Graupel
  • Ice
  • Inductive charging
  • Lightning
  • Liquid water drops
  • Non-inductive charging
  • Planetary rings
  • Polarization
  • Sublimation
  • Triboelectricity


Dive into the research topics of 'Charge generation and separation processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this