Modern Views of Electricity

Abstract

DR. LODGE'S doctrine of the slope of potential, explained in his note to my letter in NATURE of February 19 (p. 367), still presents great difficulties. A plate of zinc is covered by a film of air or oxygen in a different state from the surrounding atmosphere. We first consider a point outside of the film. Dr. Lodge says this point is influenced by the ordinary dielectric strain of a static charge imparted to the zinc in any adventitious manner. That is evident. Now, when the zinc was isolated, we had a negative charge upon it, or in the film, and therefore, at the point in question, a positive slope of potential upwards from the zinc. Call it R. When we make contact with copper we introduce a positive static charge on to the zinc. The effect of this at the point in question is a negative slope of potential—that is, downwards from the zinc. Call it – R′. Then, as the final result we have an upward slope of potential, R – R′, which is less than before contact was made.

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BURBURY, S. Modern Views of Electricity. Nature 43, 439 (1891) doi:10.1038/043439a0

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