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A model for Thundercloud Charge Separation


K. Tennakone,

Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, LK
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Prabath Hewageegana

University of Kelaniya
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A theoretical model of thundercloud charge separation is presented. The model assume that  moisture in  the updraft moving  as a stream with uniform velocity condenses into particles of graupel  in reaching cooler regions of the atmosphere.  Falling graupels acquire a negative charge by shedding the inductive positive charge which is carried away by the updraft. Charged graupels moves downward subjected to gravity, force due to the collective electric field and air resistance. Non-linear equations governing the dynamics of the system demonstrate existence of a stable equilibrium electric field of the order of magnitude needed for dielectric breakdown of air. Model also shows that thundercloud electric field could undergo pulsations at infrasonic frequencies and synchronously emit acoustic waves at the same frequency.  Preferential positive inductive charging of graupel is explained as a consequence of the proton conductivity of ice.


Sri Lankan Journal of Physics, Vol. 13(2) (2012) 01-07
How to Cite: Tennakone, K. and Hewageegana, P., 2013. A model for Thundercloud Charge Separation. Sri Lankan Journal of Physics, 13(2), pp.1–7. DOI:
Published on 19 Apr 2013.
Peer Reviewed


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